The Saratoga Sun -

Could it maybe be your problem?


Our life in the Valley is what some folks like to call bucolic. It could also be termed sedate, leisurely, and even just plain slow.

Several restaurants around the valley boast a sign that says “If you are in a hurry, you are in the wrong place.”

People who are in a hurry here are more than likely to be a little frustrated.

I remember when I moved here my bosses at the time would take me out to lunch. While I was anxious that this was regularly taking longer than an hour, my employers didn’t seem to bat an eye.

This reminds me of a Douglas Adams quote from Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy: “Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.”

Over the years, sometimes I got my midday meal finished within 60 minutes … sometimes not.

Eventually, I quit worrying about it and life became easier and much more pleasant.

Occasionally, you will find that getting certain services might take longer than in a larger town.

This too can happen.

My rude advice is: “Deal with it”.

When your neighbor down the road can get to your project, I have found that said project gets taken care of in the best fashion possible (even if not entirely within your favored timeframe).

If you are new to town and grouse about it too much, not only are you unnecessarily twisting your own panties, you are quite possibly ticking off the person whose service you wanted and all the people he or she knows too.

People talk around here.

Before long, you can find yourself at the business end of some less-than-friendly looks.

You might find yourself asking “What did I do to them?”

Be a jerk and, like throwing a warped rubber ball, it will come back to you from strange directions.

I like to call it “Valley Karma”.

People here are, as a whole, nicer than any I have met anywhere in my travels. Cross them though and you can find out how quickly your acceptance disappears.

That’s just human nature.

Wyoming rarely tolerates fools.

Sometimes, we just elect them.

There is one thing we can’t get enough of from newbies though.

Please, please, puh-leeze … tell us “how you did it where you’re from”.

Oh, wait.

I’m pretty sure we really hate that.

This is not just a Valley thing.

This is not just a Wyoming thing.

Being from Texas, I heard the term “carpetbagger” breathed in hateful tones any time someone let us know “how we did it in (insert Yankee territory)”.

For those of you that don’t know, a carpetbagger was someone who came to the south after the Civil War seeking to profit from the financial and governmental instability. The term itself referred to the carpet bags (the era’s trendy luggage) that these individuals carried. The derogatory term is a still used today to refer to an outsider who uses fraud or manipulation to achieve their goals.

I am willing to bet this is fairly universal.

People from New York most likely don’t want to hear how it is done in Los Angeles.

Folks in Keizer, Oregon don’t care how it was done in Lady Lake, Florida1.

And everyone outside of the U.S. is sick to death of hearing how we do things in America.

You really like how it was done “back there”?

Go back there …

… and don’t let the doorknob hit you where the good Lord split you.

Don’t get me wrong. Folks from anywhere are welcome in Texas (or Wyoming for that matter) as long as you are willing to make the small, and what should be effortless, effort it requires to fit in.

As much as I am a son of Texas, I have lived in the Valley for over 20 years now without anyone making me feel alienated. Probably because I like people and try to fit in where possible and know to find someone else to talk to when it’s not.

I have called myself Wyomingite (and possibly more importantly, Saratogan) for so long now that I might even be tempted to tell someone in Texas, “Hey, that’s not how we do it in Wyoming”.

Then again ... no.

We’re nice folks here. We watch out for our own and often go out of our way to help strangers.

We wave at each other (and even folks we don’t know).

We stop to let pedestrians cross.

We visit with each other at the Post Office, the store, when voting and any other handy place (like the middle of the road).

If you haven’t gotten the main theme of this little tirade though, here it is again in as crystal-clear a form as I can put it:

If you are not fitting in here, it’s probably your fault.


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