On loyalty, and pride.

When I’m thirsty and under-hydrated, I want fruit.

More specifically, I crave berry-flavored hydration. I imagine it’s the sugars or something that my body says it needs, but whatever. This is not the point of my story.

After work last night, I waded through a cloud of humidity over to a nearby McDonald’s. A few weeks ago, I discovered that they were now selling smoothies and holy-freaking-cow-balls!- They are FANTASTIC … and exactly what I desired after an unusually warm shift (it’s usually hot but last night was particularly icky / end whine).

As I waited for my delicious, delicious drink to be blended, I overheard a conversation between two women who I assume were some sort of managers, judging from their all-black apparel and lack of McDonald’s polo shirts. Woman A* was talking about a lack of things to do. As their conversation continued (really, Woman B just nodded as Woman A loudly bitched), it became clear that Woman A was unhappy about an overall lack of things to do here, meaning, this city.

It was not immediately clear to me if Woman A was not originally from this area, or if she had just recently returned from a trip to or had just moved from our nation’s Capitol, but it was evident that she held Washington, D.C. in higher regard than St. Louis, MO.

I present paraphrased excerpts from her noisy complaining:

“There is nothing to do here except for the Arch, and that’s not all that great”

which led into:

“Everyone says the Arch is so cool, but once you’ve been up in the Washington Monument you know it’s not. Everyone says to me  ‘Oh my god, how could you have never been up in the Arch before?’ like it’s some big deal [my note: implying that she has not been up in the Arch, right?]. When you’re in the Washington Monument, you can’t even see the people below. They’re, like, tiny dots. When you’re in the Arch, you can see all the people. You can even see what clothes they’re wearing [my note: bitch, you just basically told the whole restaurant that you’ve never been in the Arch, how the hell do you know what the view is like?].”

“When I was in D.C. there were bike paths everywhere! It was only 20 miles from where I was to D.C. and I could ride a bike on a path all the way there. There’s only one bike path in St. Louis and it’s, like, 6 miles long and only goes in a circle! It doesn’t go anywhere!” [my note: true. We’re not a Bike Town. But your statement is wrong. Right now, you are spewing overgeneralized bullshit out of your mouth-hole. Shut it.]

As if it were not obvious, Woman A annoyed me. Actually, she made me almost angry. But I heard on a cartoon once** that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So I collected my smoothie and left.

But not without a little fuming, because for better or for worse, I took her verbal assault a bit too personally.

If I were feeling more confrontational, I might have interrupted her petulance with something like “I couldn’t help but overhear you. You should pick up a copy of the River Front Times sometime. It’s 60 pages of things to do here. Maybe you’ll find something that interests you” or (were I feeling really cocky) “Actually the Arch is about 75 feet taller than the Washington Monument” (I had to look that one up, though I was pretty sure it was taller before I had wiki-proof).

Unfortunately, even if I had ballsed myself up enough to approach her, I’m not sure I could have done anything to really change her mind. Even if she was born and raised here, it was clear she was not a St. Louis Person.

You’ll find non-SLPs even among lifelong residents of this town. They’re the folks whose sense of entitlement trumps any vestiges of creativity or senses of adventure. They’re the people who require entertainment of the flashy, easy, variety. The Zoo here is free? It must not be any good, they say. (these are usually the same morons who would bash Albert Pujols for not hitting a grand slam in the one game of the season they deigned to attend, and – Oh, Julie, you’re really getting irate now. Simmer down). In short: they’re the ones SLPs dread the most.

So who are the SLPs? They’re the ones know there is more than once entrance into Forest Park, the ones who avoid 40 at all costs, the ones who ventured downtown (or, gasp! even lived there) before the freaking Culinaria opened. They represent everything that is good and unique and quirky about this town. I myself am only about halfway there, but when I grow up, I want to be one. Real bad. There’s so much I do not know.

Except this: the SLPs don’t need to showboat about how great the city is. They let it speak for its own, classy, self. In short, they’ve learned when to keep their mouth-holes shut.

*A is for Asshole! Okay, maybe not really, but I couldn’t resist.

**This lesson did not come from my mother, of course.

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