Firstly, congratulations to me for waiting 24 hours to write this post instead of ripping it yesterday when I had my Ranty McRantface happening.
In through the nose.
Out through the mouth.
Repeat for 24 hours.
But, I hear you ask in great wonderment, what had you so riled Wendy that you were ready to claw someone’s face off just like in the movie Face Off (note: haven’t seen Face Off so I’m not sure if that is the plot but let’s say it is for the purposes of this post)?
Excellent question lovely readers. You’re very lovely. Well done.
Let me eventually get to the point by restating to you a question that was asked of moi twice in a 72 hour period by intelligent, bright people who I really like and have lots of time for.
Q: Say Wendy, how do you cope, you know, intellectually, living in Bundaberg?
WTF. Had they turned into snobs while I wasn’t looking? Or were they really curious? Either way Houston we have a problem. Before we get down to business, I’ll just point out a couple of things.
- This is not the first time in my life I have been asked this question
- One of the questioners actually lived here for 20 years, raising a family, working, doing stuff, you know, the whole box and dice.
(Two things. I pointed out two things)
So I guess the thing about this question is it immediately implies that Bundaberg is an intellectual wasteland located in a cultural desert devoid of anyone of any smarts, interestingness, capacity to hold a conversation in words of more than one syllable, ability to form opinions about the world and our place in it and other such qualities which are clearly available only to those who are blessed and clever enough to be living in our capital cities and their immediate surrounds.
I may exaggerate here given that part of my reaction to the question was to feel tremendously insulted and patronised. As a result, in both instances, I stumbled out a response that probably appeared to apologise for my life and did nothing to further either questioner’s impression of the aforementioned intellectual wasteland that, in their minds, is regional Australia.
I tweeted out a little of my rage yesterday afternoon and as usual Twitter came back with the commonsense and support I have come to expect from my little corner of this life-saving social media platform. Thanks twitter sphere. Ace.
So in no particular order here are some of the things I shoulda/coulda responded with:
- I don’t understand. I’ve spent so long repressing any semblance of my intellectual capabilities and dumbing myself down so I can fit in with the locals that I don’t reflect on my life or my circle of like-minded people. I just play the pokies from 11am onwards using my Newstart allowance while I leave the kids in the car with the family pet during the long hot days of summer.
- Mmmm, cope intellectually you say. Well, I’ve just this minute arrived from a string quartet rehearsal where we worked on the first movement of Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major under the guidance of a retired professional musician who (among other things in a long and successful career) was a close personal friend of Sir Neville Marriner from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? No? Heavens to Betsy and you call yourself chockas with culture living down there in the big city.
- Cope? Intellectually? Well I’ve never had to worry about those two words in the same sentence or question before. I’ve been too busy chatting with my awesome friends and family about things like music, art, education, politics, and other such topics on a daily basis. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They’re quite popular as conversational issues.
- Intellectual coping skills? Oh no. I don’t have any. I just wake every morning weeping at my own idiocy for living here where it only takes 5 mins to get to the grocery shop, beach, doctors, movies, cafes. Did I mention there are no toll roads or confusing tunnels and we have real chai available? Oh we’re also able to listen to exactly the same radio programs on RN AS YOU CAN IN THE CITY and we do also have the same TV stations. Have you heard of Netflix, Stan, ITunes? NO – of well we have access to them too so we keep up pretty well.
- Social media? Oh, sorry, you refuse to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Social Media platform of your choice. How do you manage to read the New York Times, The Guardian, Slate, The Atlantic, The Saturday Paper, read First Dog on the Moon cartoons, read Longreads, and the zillion other great intellectually stimulating and interesting stuff that comes into my phone everyday? What’s that? You subscribe to The Australian? In hard copy? Oh….I’m sorry. I didn’t realise.
Okay, so maybe Ranty McRantface hasn’t disappeared completely (and perhaps has been joined by Sarcastic McCynicalFace) but I’m tired of this garbage. Let me state in no uncertain terms just so we’re all clear.
There are smart and stupid people everywhere. Yes. Everywhere. Even in the city.
There are good and bad people everywhere. Yes. Everywhere. Even in the city.
There are boring people everywhere. Yes. Everywhere. Even in the city.
There are kindred spirits for each and everyone of us. Sometimes they’re in the city and sometimes they’re in the regions. Sometimes they’re online and you’ve never met them IRL. That doesn’t even matter. I “cope” by seeking them out. By stumbling across them and being delighted. I do just what you do living in the big smoke. We’re all the same.
So check your metropolitan-intellectual privilege at the door please if you’re coming to visit me. I ain’t got time for that shit.
Shout out to my tribe of kindred spirits. You’re all totes amazing.