Tuesday, August 16, 2005

East vs. West

Maybe it's just a question of who I've met so far, but I have to say that the people around here have been much less welcoming than the ones I knew back in my beloved Mountain Time Zone. It's almost as if newcomers are such a novelty that people don't know what to do with them. So they ignore us.

We went to Burlington this weekend... actually Vergennes... for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament that Jay played in. Conversation was attempted several times, on both our parts, to little avail. Jay was fine as long as he was talking about the game, but I had nothing so interesting to say, apparently.

Here's a fairly typical representation of my attempts:

VTer: Um, what was your name again?

Me: Kate. I'm here with Jay. So where did you come up from today, Vter?

Vter: Oh... Lebanon area.

Me: Jay and I just moved back to New England from Utah. Its...

Vter: Oh, uh huh. (turns away like hearing more might kill her.)

I guess I'm just bewildered by the lack of interest in other people I've encountered here so far. Back West new people are treated like entertainment... someone with new stories and possible interest in the things that interest you. It's a traveling crowd, with individuals who have seen people and places all over the world and are generally happy to share them.

And food. To show up somewhere without food and drink to share strikes me as rude, and not a little bizarre. Yet no one else brought anything, or so Jay tells me. I didn't waste my time at the fields after the first three hours of being invisible. We fed the young'ns at the campground in the morning, and off-loaded most of a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies as well.

Does this come from the people here having rarely been outsiders themselves? Because truly, once you've been the new kid, you never forget how it feels to have someone reach out to pull you in. I haven't felt so totally invisible since... since... um, since the first week of college maybe?

Anyway, it was a thoroughly disappointing experience. I can only hope that things improve once the semester starts up. Otherwise I think I'm going to find that Vermont has even less to recommend it than I currently suspect. Natural beauty and outdoor opportunities only go so far.

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