This morning on a warm, sloppy winter’s day I had a unique appointment with my new medical doctor. A pretty mundane event by any standards, except for a few things.
Maybe it was the distinctive way I transported myself from my car to his office: On my hands and knees. That way, I couldn’t fall, so it made sense at the time. I wore the wrong smooth rubber-soled shoes for today’s rain-on-ice weather event. Didn’t think to grab my ice-grippers for the bottom of my shoes. Shame on me, I felt Un-Alaskan, like a clueless newbie. Afterwards I laughed at myself and shrugged to the nodding heads in the waiting room that I “knew better.”
We talked about people we both knew in Eagle River, the kind of boats we have, how much we love fishing for salmon and halibut and the last time we were Outside and how we couldn’t wait to get back to Alaska.
In addition, we solved world problems, commiserated on social ills, and had a philosophical discussion on the importance of the First Amendment to the Constitution. (I’d like to thank my health insurance company for helping to pay for this lively discussion).
I love my hometown, where I can have an intelligent discussion about the meaning of life with my doctor or dentist, or I can whine about Alaska’s politicians, or the condition of Anchorage roads to the cashier at Carrs-Safeway. We all feel bonded with one another here—no matter how well or how little we know our fellow Alaskans.
We like to poke fun at ‘America down there’ the way Lower Forty-Eighters poke fun at driving on Los Angeles freeways. It’s fun to do from our far-flung perch up here on the tundra north of 60 degrees latitude. We love to roll our eyes at the rich and famous who come to Alaska and have no clue how to pronounce Kenai or Valdez.
We like to think that living here is both a blessing and a curse. And we talk about both.
I think they call it—Community. Being part of a group of people you can relate to, who understand you and support you. We do much head-nodding here when we celebrate the good things or we gripe about the roads not being plowed soon enough on heavy snow days.
Each holiday season I am reminded that here in Alaska, our friends are family to us. The isolation of our state often precludes our Lower Forty-Eight families from being together with us for the holidays. It is both a blessing and a curse.
© Lois Paige Simenson and The Alaska Philosophaster, 2015, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to The Alaska Philosophaster with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. LIPS