Four years ago, when I was picking out a graduate school, I noticed my friends had opinions. Not about schools, but about location. Some of them wanted an excuse to visit Vancouver, others could see meeting up for a beach date in North Carolina. They'd come to see me or welcome me as a neighbor in Boston or New York or Los Angeles. I was saying to one of my friends in Chicago how strange it was no one was rooting for the only option in the same time zone as us, the University of Iowa a mere three and a half hours away.
"Oh, I'll say it," she said. "I won't visit you in Iowa." And, to wit, she didn't.
Most people didn't, in fact. I had hoped while moving to Dallas that it might be a bit more like Chicago, that people would visit if only because they had a long layover or were going to be in town for a conference. Historically, it takes at least three years for all six members of my immediate family to visit me in a new city. In six months they'd all come at least once to Dallas. Plus there's been Dustin's friends from Seattle, his brother and soon to be sister-in-law from San Diego. Today, in fact, we're expecting two friends and a dog on their way from Iowa City to Houston. If I'd had any idea, I would have started a guest book.
The data seems to be significant. Dustin thinks this is what happens when you have a guest room, a kind of "If you have it, they will stay" interpretation. I wonder if it's not some form of morbid curiosity. Dustin says no. Dustin says we are now part of the couples mafia, that couples tend to visit couples, that the two of us together have a greater gravitational pull. I hope our gravity does not just accelerate the rate of visits, but maintains an orbit, has the power to bring people back in another six months, when I finally know the city well enough to show it off.