Last year we moved from a relatively large city to a small town. The local economy is primarily agricultural, and almost everyone in our town is in the dairy business. We are surrounded on all sides by dairies, cows and cow manure. Cows outnumber people by a factor of 30 to 1. Whenever the wind kicks up, which is always, it stirs up a fragrant mixture of hot desert sand and cow manure and blows it across town. Then the wind changes and blows it back across town from the opposite direction. The amount of cow manure in the air is 999,999 ppm. You can smell our town from several miles away. I once heard someone liken living here to living on a “giant cow pie,” and I find that to be an accurate comparison.
What I’m getting at is this: The people here are either locals who have been here for generations and love it, or people who are here by unhappy circumstance. We are unfortunately the latter, but I have enjoyed watching the locals and the unique way they do things.
For instance: the Fourth of July is two days away and the Locals are going nuts for fireworks. School is out and there’s nothing for the kids to do here. Fireworks stands have been open since, like, March and the local teens have just been using every spare cent to buy fireworks. And of course they can’t wait until the Fourth to light them off, so they’re lighting them off about as soon as they buy them. Nonstop. All through the night. Every night.
The other night I was driving to the store as fireballs of teen angst and boredom exploded above me. A truck passed me and backfired with a deafening bang. For a split second I thought that I had been shot. But I wasn't, it's just all these fireworks, plus everyone here has guns in gun racks in their trucks and concealed carry licenses. It's like we're living in a warzone.
Our town is nothing if not patriotic. And I just realized that all this complaining makes me sound really old, which, I guess I am.