Sometimes it's just hard living a place that you know you'll never feel at home. It's a bummer thinking about how I've partly adjusted here and how I won't be able to just jump back in when I do get home to NYC.
I had a phone conversation recently with a start-up manager that brainstormed as she spoke. I couldn't keep up with the flow of conversation and could sense her frustration with me. I realized then that I was losing skills while semi-adapting to this slow Palouse lifestyle I never wanted a adapt to. All in all, I'm turning into Elf: I don't fit in in the city and I don't belong in the North Pole!
So in an effort to stop moping around and to focus on the positive, here's a list of five qualities that Palouse people possess that New Yorkers (and New Englanders) will probably never adapt:
- They are courteous drivers -- It's true! If they see a car coming, they will never pull out in front of them. In fact, they will probably wait much too long to pull out onto a main road because there is usually a car coming at SOME distance. I can't decide if they are just bad judges of time and space, but let's go with super courteous, shall we?
- They are polite phone people -- When I answer the phone at work, the person on the other line addresses me BY NAME! And this line of work involves answering the phone to people who are not always in the best mindset. But you know what? They greet me by name. Almost every single last one of them. Even the kids.
- They are community-focused -- It would be strange if they weren't. I don't even know that many people and can't go to the grocery store, out to dinner, out shopping, nothing, without running into people. I can't stand it because I'm usually telling a story that I don't want that person to hear. Or I am wearing the same thing I wore yesterday and now someone knows it. People who live here thrive on seeing others out and about. I think it gives them a notion of safety when you're living in a town surrounded for miles on all sides by wheat fields.
- They want what's best for the kids -- I've noticed that a lot of kids out here are special needs. I think the schools here are really good and have special areas of focus for special needs. I met a special needs teacher at a party once and could tell how much she truly cared for her kiddos. The parents need a strong support group, and they find one simply embedded in this community. It's very different from hipsters who have kids and focus too much energy and buying that perfect jaunty hat for their little wiggle worm at approximately 250% markup.
- They are troopers -- They need to go to Seattle for the weekend? No big deal; 5.5 hours in the car is nothing. It's starting to snow? No biggie, they got their snow tires on weeks ago. Their kid has a game after school 2 hours away? They'll just pick up a pre-made dinner at the grocery store and hit the road. Often times I wonder "Why? Why put yourselves through all this?" But to them, leaving has never been an option. I have never met anyone who lives here (that isn't a student) that does not have an exit plan. They love it here.
I just wish I loved it here, too.
But for now, I'm going to try and learn from them. Accept what I like. Take it with me. And who knows, maybe New Yorkers will start greeting callers by name and hesitating before cutting people off. I think I'd enjoy a nice taxi ride where I'm not fumbling for the seatbelt halfway through the fare.