Often the best way to survive is to
escape. Theoretically if one resides
in a small town, the only "you" they
know is who they see on the surface.
Isolation facilities insulation. Hence
like New Yorkers, our local concept
of life beyond our county limits is
rather limited at best. So, wherever
you came from and whatever you did
there is probably NOT going to take
you very far here in Lewistown. Out
here in the west it's not what you've
done but what you do that matters.
For someone who escaped the highly
competitive rat race of Manhattan,
I find this myopia quite refreshing.
However I do think it's odd that few
locals ever do their homework. In
theory the old west way of taking
people at face value works. However
given many people are two faced, it's
usually smart to know where the
person facing you is coming from.
That's because with few exceptions,
most of us bring a lot of knowledge
experience, and baggage with us.
A friend recently shared some insight.
Born and raised here in Lewistown
she subsequently moved away. For
over forty years she built a successful
career and life. Post retirement she
returned "home" where her heart was.
However it was as if those forty years
had never happened. Upon returning
nobody ever asked her where she'd
been or what she'd done. Proof that
what happens outside of Lewistown
stays outside of Lewistown. Which
in theory seems rather provincial.
One can't help but be perplexed by
such myopia. Are my neighbors
afraid to gain from my experience?
Or have they been burned one time
too many times by newbies? Some
who arrive in town are questionable
at best. Initially they spout all sorts
of grandiose dreams and opinions.
Then slowly like the emperor's new
clothes the truth comes out. And
it's often not what they said it was.
No wonder few locals waste their
time trying to get to know you.
How do you do?
I've been rather cautious during my
process of assimilation. While this
urbane cowboy brings quite a bit to
the party, the last thing I want to do
is be considered a pooper. The truth
is I want to help. The fact is I want
to make a difference. However the
reality is that the only way to do so
is slowly, cautiously, and carefully.
Bravado doesn't work in these here
parts. Nor does overt over extending
of oneself. And if you say anything
you'd better be ready to do just that.
This is a rough and tumble place.
Therefore it makes sense that most
local survivors are more than a bit
thick skinned. While one doesn't
have to navigate the status hurdles
that rule Manhattan, one does have
to prove themselves inch by inch,
step by step. In a land where one is
taken at their word - one must make
certain that whatever you've said -
happens. Otherwise you're just
another of those fools who arrive,
shoot off their mouths, and leave.
Sometimes I'm not sure what to bring
to the party given around here it's pot
luck. We each know something that
the other doesn't. Our challenge is to
learn from each other. For now I plan
to focus on my forte - creativity. My
true talent has always been nurturing
and developing talent. In a place like
this the arts can often be considered
frivolous. Given the opportunity to
add some local color, I'll do my best
to paint the town red. Maybe it's time
to put my money where my mouth is.