I love the Midwest. I always have very strange experiences here. Yesterday on the way from the airport, for example, we drove next to a place called "Pistol Range" that announced "Public Shooting Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m." I'm trying not to attach any Kafkaesque interpretations to this.
Right now, five armed men entered the Starbucks where I'm writing this blog. I assume they are police officers (based on how relaxed everybody's reaction to them is) although there is nothing in or on their clothes and baseball hats that would actually identify them as such. Two of the men keep futzing with their guns, touching them in an almost caressing way. None of the other patrons in this coffee shop seem to mind or even notice. I, however, can't bring myself to relax. I don't remember ever being in a room with one gun, let alone five.
At the same time, as unsettling as this experience might be, it is not nearly as scary as my memory of being accosted by a group of street preachers here in West Lafayette last summer. I was having coffee at a streetwalk coffee shop, when this guy came up to me and staring at me in a very intent way asked: "Are you ready to die??" It took me some time to realize that he was a street preacher offering salvation and not a crazed killer.