267 Richmond, VA: Puddinhead's

Over at Puddin' Head Wilson's coffeeshop, I interviewed a woman who had bobbed, frizzy brown hair just turning gray. She had brown eyes behind glasses, and a sharp nose and crooked teeth. She wore an open-collared, half-buttoned shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes.

"People here," she confided, "probably would not say they're isolated, but if you came from outside, you would feel isolated. I've hired three people from elsewhere. One from Chicago, one from Philadelphia, one from Pennsylvania. And they all moved on because they couldn't penetrate the local social scene. It's very cliquey here. The one from New York she said, 'What's the deal here? You're the only person that'll hire me.' Everybody else is really kind of closed off. I don't get it either. It's like they're guarding something, but I'm not sure what it's protecting them from. I wouldn't describe it as isolated, but provincial, very provincial. We're not in the twenty-first century. That's cause they're looking more back than forward."

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