Life With The Curds
by Sari Gordon

I moved out here to gamble: could we live an hour from a large Midwestern city and still retrieve enough information to stay urbane?

It's not exactly the pastoral dream I thought it would be. There are a lot more gunshots and drunks driving trucks who don't have a lot to live for. The horizon out here is totally depressing. I wish I were in a coulee, holler, valley or a womb of redwoods and ferns but then I see myself dictating my surroundings like a woman in Barney's, "Oh no, that prairie horizon will not do at all." So I just find a gully on our property where I can hide and pretend.

After getting a black eye at a Clash show, kicked down the stairs of a punk bar for being disorderly, sleeping with Nick Cave, Captain Sensible and a hundred others with far fewer recommendations, I find myself getting a bit worked up when my favorite morning classical DJ announces an upcoming Edward Elgar piece that promises to be "rousing." Afterwards, I think, why yes, Steve, that WAS rousing, thank you!

Tonight we watched five gay men overhauling a straight one on TV. Then we went to dinner at a local supper club.

In Ellsworth, it's a given: cheese curds are served deep-fried. At the St. James hotel in Red Wing, which is the fancy place in town, cheese curds are presented sans batter in the center of a fresh fruit plate with a honey sauce. That's hot cuisine around here. Tonight we watched five gay men overhauling a straight one on TV. Then we went to dinner at a local supper club. If you don't know what a supper club is, think of a mobile home with

a neon sign, hanging planters with plastic geraniums and marigolds and five acres of gravel parking lot that are never enough for all the pickup trucks and Suburbans on Friday night fish fries. We went there because it's only five miles from home and that's the nearest place we've got.

The cognitive dissonance between the assumptions of the Manhattan set and the ironed-jean farmers around me was palpable. Then I heard the people at the table next to ours start talking about "Queer Eye For a Straight Guy," and my little country homily crumbled to shit. All because TV frequencies are now shot into space and then soaked up by dishes all over rural America.

So now my dilemma is, should I cut Scott's hair off, now that he admitted (during "Queer Eye") that he wouldn't mind it? Dilemma #2: Money. Why can't we just print some money and live in our own 20-acre country?

Once again, fantasy saves the day. But the number one survival tip for living in modern rural Wisconsin is this: if you don't have an Internet connection, you can get your lingerie at the Super Dollar Store. It's all XL and made of super absorbent cotton and there are usually some pretty good Taz and Grave Digger panties.