Like-Minded in Rhode Island

I live in Rhode Island, so Outside Bozeman contains news from afar, but there’s always a reliable collection of informative essays, articles and reviews, great photos and entertaining commentary like that recently aimed at folks who squeeze into lycra and shouldn’t. It was an amusing read, and visions of the strapped-on helmet-heads downing brewskies in the bar had me laughing out loud.

And it was interesting to learn about the presence of Terrifiedus idiotus in your environment, since a variety of that species also migrates to our coastal habitat during the summer months and exhibits similar behaviors and characteristics, except ours try to adapt to the ocean-side ecosystem by adorning themselves in brilliant green or coral-colored pants. We also tolerate their sometimes aggressive tendencies because there’s no denying their greenback droppings significantly fertilize our economy.

Between reading your magazine and making periodic trips to Bozeman to visit family, I’m torn between promoting Bozeman as the great place it is or keeping a lid on it in the interest of sparing your citizenry from the potential onslaught of a westward-ho invasion. I don’t mean to suggest that you cowboys can’t manage a stampede (although that “Wait Here For Lead Car” routine makes me wonder), but I struggle with whether to share the innards of your magazine or stifle myself when reading it in public because touting Bozeman to extreme might generate a level of interest you don’t necessarily want. Rhode Island has its share of folks seeking that surge of adrenalin or a creative, laid-back lifestyle, and my experiences in Bozeman, along with OB’s descriptions, suggest it’s a worthy contender for satisfying either or both in spite of its distance from our beautiful ocean.

But the majority of Rhode Islanders’ sense of comfort, challenge and triumph is probably more than satisfied by creeping bumper-to-bumper toward the local mall to partake in our favorite sport of shopping and buying things we don’t know we need until the SALE sign triggers our “must-buy-don’t-know-why-but-I-better-get-three” gene; or by making tortoise-like progress to a state beach where we pay $15 to park the car then repeatedly boast about our accomplishment not only for having found a parking spot in less than twenty minutes, but also for out-maneuvering another driver who’d apparently been circling the lot much longer than us judging by the overheated, screaming kids in the back seat and the expletives delivered as we masterfully careen into the empty spot s/he was aiming for. Who cares if he had his blinker on first. No guts no glory, go for the gold, keep your eye on the prize and all that jazz. That’s our version of competition, perseverance and battling the elements, mostly in the form of each other.

So I guess no matter how enthusiastically I promote Bozeman, it’s doubtful there’ll be an immediate full-tilt exodus from here to there – you’ve got the natural protection of those long winters and bears roaming neighborhoods for starters. Then there’s the extended measures of silence and sky, the ease of travel between Bozeman and wherever you’re headed, along with the absence of that edgy, survival-of-the-fittest competition for personal, parking and road space. Folks who are accustomed to horn-blaring, cheek-by-jowl, over-stimulating environments probably consider a place like Bozeman just too quiet, boring and far too lacking in opportunities to flip others off or things to complain about in general. Hopefully Bozeman will stay that way.

Linnea Lundwall
North Kingstown, RI