Day 672 (give or take…): Still no Bigfoot sighting. I saw four deer in the yard last night (Graham was a wee bit ticked that I accidently scared them off before he’d had a chance to stare at them for as long as he wanted), and there was a family of wild turkeys passing through the field on my way out this morning. Occasionally there are tracks in the yard from raccoons, opossum, and feral cats as well. But I’ve yet to see any huge, intimidating footprints or large hairy creatures in the woods staying just outside of camera focus. Of course I can’t say that I’ve actually been looking though. But the carrot from our melted snowman is still laying in the front yard. And I’m sure a tasty treat like that would attract one if it was out there, right?
Just to be clear…
It’s not my goal to simply bash Fayette County. It truly is a unique place – kind of like living in the middle of a super-sized Wal-Mart sometimes – but it has its good points as well. The mountains are absolutely beautiful, all four seasons are well represented throughout the year, Frank Lloyd Wright’s house Fallingwater is a short drive away, and there are some very good people living and working in the area. It just doesn’t feel like home to me at this point. Because I just don’t get it yet.
Multiple times I’ve seen couples on dates where both parties were wearing at least one article of cammo. And I don’t own a single one myself. And casual Fridays involve seem to consist of every version of Steelers/Pirates/Penguins black and gold. And they’re not even my teams.
Then of course it throws you off a bit when you see an ad for a house nailed into the side of a telephone pole asking for “$5000 or best offer – cash only”. But there are another 135,000 people living here within the county and they’re probably a bit confused by that guy as well. There’s weirdness everywhere after all.
Shortly before I moved here I read the novel American Rust by Philipp Meyer. Taking place in a “beautiful but economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town” it’s a story about the lost American Dream and desperation. And it takes place within Fayette County, as the characters go through their depressing lives in actual towns from the area. Suffice to say, it doesn’t paint the most positive picture of the people who live there. But it’s just fiction – just a novel – and one that I would only give 6 out of 10 stars anyway. So it didn’t completely scare me away – though it did brace me for the worst.
But there are nice, friendly people here. For example…the other day at the grocery store, the college-aged girl checking me out at the register called me “honey”. Maybe she was flirting with me, maybe it was just a way of interacting with customers that she picked up from the older women she worked with and didn’t even realize it. Or maybe it was simply someone being friendly and using an expression that just seems comfortable to use around here. Kind of like the odd expression of calling people “Yins”. That one I’m absolutely positive I’ll never understand.
But, as crazy as my new home may seem most days, it is home. So it’s all about focusing on the positives of the area, and the people that got here before me. And I’ll do my best to be a decent visitor until I’ve reached the point where I’m one of them. And, as I adjust and get used to all of it, I’ll do my best to be brave.
Especially if I run into Bigfoot.