Friday, June 19, 2009

Losing My Edge

Sometimes I just have to face the fact that I fit in here.

I mean—I grew up here in Central Missouri, but I’ve lived in other places, and that’s given me some kind of attitude that I’m slightly more worldly or sophisticated than my fellow Mid-Missourians who haven’t ever moved out of the county they were born in.

Big cities. I’ve lived in Phoenix, south-central Phoenix, no less, a part of the city that most small-town Midwesterners would feel uncomfortable in, as there are a lot of “bad neighborhoods” there. (Meaning working-class immigrant Mexican.)

And I spent a lot of time in Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, and downtown. I frequented a lot of tourist areas. Sedona was part of my old stomping ground. Movie stars hang out there. Classy place. Tourist destination.

Helena, Montana, was a fairly small city, but then Montana has its own classy appeal; look how the movie stars have flocked there. Think about it this way: Missourians think of Montana as a wonderful, beautiful place, a dream vacation, but Montanans think of Missouri as . . . well, it’s attractive if you’re into Branson’s stuff.

And I lived in San Francisco one summer. It’s one of North America’s trendiest, most cosmopolitan, sophisticated towns. And I’d like to think that after I adjusted to the canyons of skyscrapers, I started to fit in there . . . even if I am from the barbecue, bacon, and corn-fed Midwest.

I used to be proud of my experiences, and the worldly person I had become.

But I’m fitting in here again in Central Missouri. It’s been about fourteen years since I moved back to the state, and I can see that the influences of Helena, San Francisco, and Phoenix are wearing off.

I don’t drive like a Phoenician anymore. I don’t dine (or wine) like a San Franciscan. Wild western Montana winds haven’t freshened my hair since the day I drove away. My big-city edge is dull; it wouldn’t cut soft butter. My sophisticated, cultivated expectations have withered—hell, a gooberburger basket can satisfy me now. And the romantic air of faraway places has dissipated like last week’s cologne.

I’m not particularly blue about all this, but I did have to confront it last week.

. . . And more on that, soon.

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