Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Stanger In A Strange Land

     Two and a half years ago I picked up the Worldwide Headquarters, LLC Inc. and moved them into a tiny Midwestern town in order to get the kind of corporate tax break that makes normal people angry at the government.  And, because I am a dedicated member of the community, I went out and got a job with like ten other people - most of whom are in their 50s with one exception - and almost all of whom grew up and have lived their lives right here in this little town.
       Now, I have always felt pretty good about how far I have come in my time here.  On the rare occasions when I have ventured out of the Worldwide Headquarters I have been fortunate enough to meet many wonderful people who I have nothing but compliments about, which I feel is a feat since moving into a small town where everyone knows one another is not easy.  When I first moved here the police used to follow a block behind me as I walked through town, and one guy even rolled down the window of his car to ask me why I was walking down the street.  But, like I said, I was able to sort of break through with the kindness of strangers who quickly became friends and I am at the point where I know someone just about everywhere I go.  That was always sort of the hallmark of my fitting in in my mind.  Anyway the point is that this little town has been pretty good to me - not only has it sprouted an almost-award winning podcast and provided me with the most important person in my life.  Yet sometimes I feel like such a stranger in such a strange place.
      It usually happens when a bunch of the local folks who have lived here forever get together and start talking about people that I do not know and places that are not around anymore.  Like for instance, some born and raised local comes in and everyone knows them, walks by and says hello like they have known one another for years, and they sit and chitchat about stuff that happened years ago.  At Parker's gas station.  There is no Parker's gas station in town, but I guarantee that there is a gas station that used to be Parker's in the 70s and is now an Exxon.
     That is the other thing.  Lots of people tend to refer me to landmarks that either a.) are called something else now or b.) you would only know about if you lived here forever and grew up here.  "Oh, go down the street, take the second left, and she lives right next to Larry Durgon's house."  That is fine but I don't know who Larry Durgon is and I sure as hell don't know where he lives.  Sometimes it is a step farther, where they live next to Larry Durgon's hold house, and then I am doubly screwed because Larry has been dead for five years and I can't even look for a sign in the yard.  The other thing that people absolutely love to do to me is to refer to restaurants and bars by names that they had years ago.  So then I get all excited and think there is someplace that I have never known about that I can go eat at.  But there isn't.  I have been there.  I just live in the now and don't call it the name that it had in 1991.
     The other way that sometimes makes me feel like I am really out of place is when everyone is looking at something from the perspective of a 50-year-old, which is fine because that is what most of the people I am around are, but I am not so I tend to think a little differently.  I am sure that in 20 years my thoughts will run along the same lines, and I will be cursing the youth of the day.  But that is not the point.  The point is that I am the youth of today so I tend to think like the youth of today, and sometimes I just can't handle it.
      Don't think that I am complaining, even though I am a little.  I am mainly just observing and reporting.  I understand that, as an outsider, there are a lot of views I have and things that I do and say that they probably don't care for or that frustrates them.  And that is okay.  I do feel that this is my home, and I feel like part of the community, and I like it here (especially the massive corporate tax breaks and very conservative income reporting laws, especially in regards to my corporate jet) but sometimes I just feel like a stranger in a strange, strange land.

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