In the past, visitors have called our town “Too Friendly.” Maybe it’s true. We tend to acknowledge folks that come in earshot of us. We make eye contact, greet folks by name, and even talk to strangers like we’ve known them for years. Considering the number of lost hikers and folks with car troubles that happen through our town, it just seems a proper way to be. I guess in the hustle and bustle and demands of our modern age, it’s a level of interaction that makes some people slightly uncomfortable.
Some former residents have claimed that this is a bit hypocritical. We’re all smiles and friendly toward strangers, but that we completely ignore our off-grid neighbors. In fact, there was a guy yelling today, pointing at the bench in front of Stumpy’s saying we were willfully ignoring that Ol’ Papa Jones was sitting there, wearing a fishing hat and a pipe in his mouth, doing a hilarious imitation of Buster reading the paper. What the poor fella just couldn’t understand, and we didn’t bother trying to explain it too well, is that this is how our off-grid neighbors want it.
This isn’t some weird city folk assumption about outsiders. They’ve said so. “Please, we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves.”
The desire to honor their wishes runs a bit contrary to our sense of hospitality at times. If you are keen to it, you can identify a fellow Leveritite from across the room anywhere in the world. We tend to talk to each other, initially, as if we were by ourselves in the room. It seems like this let’s us gauge whether the other person wants to talk, but at the same time acknowledges them and lets them know you might like to share a story with them.
Generally, if one of our fellow townsfolk looks like they’re talking to themselves, the old assumption was that they were talking to someone outside of your view. That, or they were going crazy. Now, the assumption is that they’re using one of those new bluetooth headsets that make everybody look like they’re having a nervous episode.
As to the fellow, hanging out of his driver side door, gesticulating madly toward Buster, well, he seems to have been having a nervous episode of his own. Officer Patterson thinks perhaps it was more of that tainted tobacco going around, and drove him to the regional medical center for a psych assessment and 72 hour observation. Hope the poor guy is ok.
Too bad too, as he missed the hilarious climax of Papa Jones’ little pantomime that even had Buster in stitches.