And here is where Ann Arbor shines. Regardless of how he or she defines an Ann Arborite, the individuals I have met seem to understand immediately the loneliness of a recent grad. Like that stranger on the bike, countless others have offered me a nudge of encouragement or nod of gentle solidarity: the art fair vendor who reminded me to tie my shoes; my boyfriend's mom, who bought me mint ice cream; his dad, who waited with me at the bus station; the woman who told me about the hidden path through the Arboretum prairie.
The bright music scene and the nightlife are great distractions from the post-college blues, but I think it is that collective support that makes this city so attractive to wide-eyed twenty-somethings. Ann Arborites offer a friendly and knowing smile for the days when the studio apartment loses its romantic charm, when it just smells like garbage and sewage.
As the stranger on the bike said, running is hard, but a couple of miles can be all you need.
[Originally published in October, 2012.]