Now that my readership is to an all-time low, I've decided to write again.
A lot has changed in the last few months, but we can discuss that later. Today I want to talk about a little town called Fairbanks. The Fairbanks in Alaska. The Fairbanks that I've never had any desire to visit.
CoolWife and I are in Alaska right now. We've had a wonderful time traveling, seeing the sights, eating tasty foods, and hanging out with my parents (photos probably to come). But we sure didn't go to Fairbanks, and one little conversation pretty much sealed the deal for me that I shouldn't bother for the rest of my life.
While we were visiting Denali National Park, Aubrey and I were checking out some gift shops near our hotel. (Also near the hotel: The Salmon Bake. Go there.) One of the shops had something to do with a Fairbanks Bowl Company, which sells overpriced wooden bowls and hires insane people to work at their stores.
"Wait!", you say? "What's this talk of insane people?", you ask? Keep reading.
First I'll set the scene. The store has shelves that go to the ceiling along the walls, and a few rows of waist-high shelves through the middle of the shop. The shop itself is only about 30ft by 60ft or so. We walk in, and after seeing the price tag on the first item by the door I've decided that there's no way I was going to buy something there. But CoolWife likes to look in shops, so we began making our way slowly through the winding rows of merchandise.
After about 30 seconds, the girl manning (or girling) the store comes out from her counter and tells us that everything in the shop was made in Fairbanks, and if we went there, we could see it ourselves. My face must have betrayed my thoughts ("Fairbanks? No frikkin' way.") because she called me out on having frowned when she talked about Fairbanks. I told her that we weren't planning on going to Fairbanks.
Sales Girl: Why wouldn't you go to Fairbanks?
Me: Well, I've never really had the desire.
SG: Are you from around here?
Me: I'm from Anchorage, well, Eagle River actually.
SG: THAT'S why. You've just never been and you don't know what good things are there. First, there's Chena Hot Springs, there's not so many people as there are in Anchorage, and it's pretty much a jumping off point for the wilderness if that's your thing (this last part about "my thing" was said condescendingly).
Firstly, the hot springs aren't in Fairbanks, they're another 55 miles north of Fairbanks. If the #1 attraction for your town is another hour out of the way, you might want to restructure your argument. Secondly, I prefer to live in urban areas, and lastly, which city in Alaska isn't a jumping off point to the wilderness? At this point I felt pretty validated about not having been to Fairbanks.
She must have sensed my good feelings, because she sure didn't stop there.
Sales Girl: Yeah, it's not like Eagle River, you can just go off by yourself in the woods and no one will bother you. And if you get lost and die out there...Eh, you're biodegradable.
Me, not altogether sure I heard that last part right: Oh really? So no one will come looking for you?
Sales Girl: Oh no, we'll just leave you out there to die.
This is the point where I got really nervous and figured we should probably get out of there soon. I decided to go for a "diffuse the situation" tactic instead of just running for the door. Also, CoolWife is still with me but not saying anything at all to help me out; she's just enjoying the show.
Me: Oh...well...I lived with a few guys from Fairbanks in college (three, to be exact), they were all really cool guys. They only had good things to say about the place.
Clearly Insane Sales Girl: Where was this?
SG: Yeah, you don't really count has a true Fairbanks Person until you've left Fairbanks and come back. So their opinion probably didn't count.
Me: Oh? Well...they liked it....
SG: Also, winters in Fairbanks are way worse than Idaho or Anchorage. If it's too cold for your car to start, that's just your car's fault.
Me: (Now moving towards the door) Well, I guess you can't plug in every car to make sure they start (I was referring to engine bloc heaters, I just assumed she would know what I meant there).
SG: Also, going to Anchorage counts as leaving Fairbanks.
Me: Right.... Well, bye!
SG: Be sure to visit our store in Fairbanks when you go! If you go....
Me: Holy crap!
CoolWife: WOW!!! That was amazing! Sorry I didn't have your back in there, but that was hilarious!
At this point, I feel like I should stick up for Idaho a little bit. Rexburg is actually very much like Fairbanks. It's small, really far away from anything worthwhile, and the winter does suck pretty hard. However, those aren't exactly the selling points. Fairbanks appears to embrace those traits. So if you're looking for cold and miserable nine months out of every twelve in a place where your friends and neighbors really will leave you out in the wilderness to die, Fairbanks is your place!
Also, if you ever find yourself in need of a good lawyer that won't cannibalize their own argument, don't ask around at Fairbanks Bowl Company.
8 hours ago