“Schooled” By an Outsider

By , July 25, 2016

My sisters held sales on two days to reduce their storage inventory before moving it south. We brought out a few items to sell alongside, taking advantage of a rare opportunity. After all, how does one hold a garage sale when one has no garage? A yard sale that requires a 3 mile round trip hike would make very little money. Aly and I tagged along, as it were (hopefully our British readers got a smile out of that) and helped with the sale.

For me, the sale offered a rare opportunity to meet and greet unfamiliar townspeople. We also saw a lot of our friends and neighbors. We really enjoyed visiting, chatting, and joking with the people who came to the sale.

One visitor, I’m afraid, left a less favorable impression.

I spent a few moments talking with one man who came to the sale. A visitor from a large city down south, he was pleasant spoken enough, but rather opinionated.

Participating in the sale, I tried to remain smiling and affable during the conversation, but I soon found urgent business elsewhere. I turned my back on him and left the conversation, an action that goes against my upbringing and nature on many different levels. And yet, it had to be done.

Before I did so, I learned the following about me, my town, and my state:

  • There’s nothing at all worth doing in Haines. It’s a boring place.
  • No businesses are open in Haines on Sunday.
  • Alaskans are “all talk and no action.”

He also told me what my borough’s government does (or doesn’t do) for our community. When I offered an alternative opinion on that, he dismissed it with an emphatic “Nooooo.”

Silly me—I’ve only lived here for 10 years, and owned land here for 11, what could I possibly know about this community that this two-time visitor did not?

I thought a lot about this guy in the days that followed. I remembered his wisdom as my sisters and I walked up and down main street on a Sunday afternoon, visiting stores and shops. I thought of his pronouncements as I scrambled to balance helping with the move and maintaining our homestead. He came to mind as friends missed events because of work or other commitments. He surely had Haines pegged, didn’t he?

As you might know, my hindsight is better than 20/20. I write a blog, after all! I swallowed a lot of comments and suggestions in that short conversation, the uppermost in my mind being an invitation to get back on the ferry, plane, or whatever he rode in on and get the hell out of my town and state if he was so unhappy here! He took up valuable space that could be better used by others with a bit more imagination, self motivation, and openmindness. In other words, the type of people who might enjoy visiting Alaska, given his chance.

I often say there’s a reason I live out in the woods. Avoiding people like that fellow is one of those reasons.

4 Responses to ““Schooled” By an Outsider”

  1. Karen J. says:

    Foolish man he is! My husband and I drove to AK in May 2010 from Calif., returning home in late Aug. Leaving our rig in White Horse, we drove to Skagway and stayed in a B&B; ferried to Haines and stayed at the barracks where an eagle greeted us with his wondrous flight. Driving out of Haines, we had the highway to ourselves. Our surroundings were pristine with what seemed like freshly laden snow. Drop dead gorgeous! Our only regret is that we didn’t allow more time to visit Haines. We plan to return to AK, possibly in 2018, and you can bet Haines will be on the schedule.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Excellent, Karen! As far as I’m concerned, you’ve just won my “friend’s” space and time in Alaska to use as you see fit! I hope you do get to return.

  3. Angie says:

    Wow, I had no idea there was so little to do here. Guess I’ve been so busy juggling my schedule this summer, I haven’t had a chance to notice.

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Angie, isn’t amazing how those of us with things to do never have time to get bored? That must be a constant mystery to those who can’t seem to find something worthwhile to do with their time.

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