I get a sinking, sad feeling often as I make my way around Marion, where I live. Don't get me wrong, IWU is an island (or perhaps bubble) of brilliance. The typical reaction of visiting academics to IWU is "What is all this??? I didn't even know this place existed and it is massive, new, and very, very exciting!!!!" The typical reaction of the prospective student is, "Yep, I'm coming here--for the buildings and student life alone if nothing else."
But once you leave the campus and venture out a bit, the feeling is quite different. I had the sinking feeling last night as the middle aged custodian grandmother with her two grandchildren had to leave her bags behind at the grocery store because she didn't have the money in her account. I had the sinking feeling this morning as I looked at the distant, hopeless look of the lady at the door of Walmart stacking carts together.
Then Thoreau hit me, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." But this time I finally felt the pathos of the quote.