Sunday, January 1, 2012

Montana Again

I love going home.

I've been in DC for 6 months now (that long already?) but it's not yet a home. I guess these things take a while, right? Living on the East Coast, life is pretty different from what I grew up with. People wear peacoats and buy fancy umbrellas and use public transportation and just generally live at a more frenetic pace of life.

There's nothing inherently wrong with any of those things (especially the using-public-transportation thing -- it helps the environment!).  Nevertheless, sometimes all I want to see are people in their thick Carhartt coats, cowboy hat on, mud on their boots, flannel peeking out from the collar. Life back home is slower, relaxed, maybe even friendlier? Perhaps I just imagine it that way, because not too many people here in MT are concerned with unpaid internships or cutthroat career advancement or what Senator What's-His-Name did on the Hill today.

I miss the West, living in DC.

As such, I treasure up and relish any Western encounters I have in my East Coast city. When I check IDs at the liquor store (I didn't tell you? I did get that job...surprised me too), if someone hails from anywhere west of Minnesota or north of Wyoming, I have to mention my sister's college tenure in North Dakota or my trips to Washington state. I've even met a few other Montanans, and we all made plans to watch our biggest football game, UM vs. MSU. (Once someone came in with a thick Scottish brogue, and we shared a lovely few minutes abusing Aberdeen.)

I pass someone wearing cowboy boots, I secretly want to abandon my route and follow, like a creeper, because if he's wearing cowboy boots then he must be going somewhere interesting. Same with Carhartt. Seriously, boys: Carhartt is the way to this gal's lil country heart.

[Don't worry; I'm not a creeper and I've never actually followed someone.] 

I've trained my ears to listen for certain keywords -- "Montana", "horses", "West", "out West", "cowboys", "Rocky Mountains" -- and each time I hear them I relish them like candy. Too much candy all at once, too many buzzwords in a short time span, and I'm like a 4-year-old who found the bag of Sour Patch Kids.  I'll likely get all hyper and burst out, "Look at me! Look at me! I'm from the West, I know about mountains!! Let's talk about mountains, pretty please?! You people don't have them here!"

Don't worry, this doesn't happen very often. I'm usually an adult and can contain myself. Usually.

For example, on the second leg of my flight home for the holidays, everyone started talking about Northwest Montana, skiing, winter (real winter, people), and my hometown.

Instead of getting hyper (and, likely, obnoxious), I simply relaxed into my uncomfortable airplane chair, closed my eyes, and drank in the conversations around me.

Buzzwords never tasted so sweet.


  1. Always funny Aff, but kinda somber. I remember searching for a girl, any girl who had washed and combed her hair on UM Campus in 73. Didn't see many.


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