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A weekend question for Making It readers (while you're waiting with bated breath to don gobs of green garb and guzzle green beers at Sean Kelly's on Saturday): Walking to my noon yoga class yesterday, a stranger at the intersection of Broadway and Higgins caught my eye. A woman of my same age, height, and hair color was wearing my exact same, brand-new, flashier-than-the-average Patagonia fleece. And she had on my same exact Dansko clogs (i.e. “Rocky Mountain high heels”), too. We smiled as we passed in the crosswalk. A fun coincidence, but not really worthy of mention. Except that I saw the exact same woman standing at the exact same intersection on my walk back from yoga two hours later. She laughed. “Did you get your fleece at the Gambler’s Sale?” I laughed. “Uh, huh. Did you get your shoes at Hide and Sole?” Only in Missoula, baby. Only in Missoula. So, What’s your latest “Only in Missoula Moment”?

Only In Missoula…

Walking to my noon yoga class yesterday, a stranger at the intersection of Broadway and Higgins caught my eye. A woman of my same age, height, and hair color was wearing my exact same, brand-new, flashier-than-the-average Patagonia fleece. And she had on my same exact Dansko clogs (i.e. “Rocky Mountain high heels”), too.

We smiled in the crosswalk. A coincidence, but not really worthy of mention.

Except that I saw the exact same woman standing at the exact same intersection on my walk back from yoga two hours later.

She laughed. “Did you get your fleece at the Gambler’s Sale?”

I laughed. “Uh, huh. Did you get your shoes at Hide and Sole?”

“Oh, yeah,” she replied. “Aren’t we just the typical Missoulians?”

Uh, huh.

Only in Missoula, baby. Only in Missoula.

What’s your latest “Only in Missoula Moment”?

(If you’ve never had one (is that possible?), I invite you to stand on the corner of Broadway and Higgins and let the moment find you.)


Big Sis and Little Sis write about life and love in the Garden City in their blog here on NewWest.Net. Read more on “Making it in Missoula,” including details on the March “You Made It!” contest at http://www.newwest.net/makingit.

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26 comments

  1. Sad….really. So you have a cookie cutter look-a-like dressed in the same ridiculous ‘hey-look-at-me-I-love-the-outdoors’ patagucci ensamble? Big deal. People like you, who are as original as the clothes you wear, are a dime a dozen in this town. That’s the problem with Missoula. It tends to attract people who are exactly like each other. Funny, for a town that is overflowing with people who preach diversity, this has to be the least diverse place on earth. Now that’s ‘only in Missoula’. A place where eveyone thinks, acts, and dresses alike and their is no room for differing opinion. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find the keys to my Subaru….I think I left them at the Kettlehouse…or was it Snowbowl?

  2. Wow, now what is with all of this! You know I was born and raised in this community. I can remember that the true values that made western Montana, the valleys we love to find adventures in, and even more so, the town of Missoula what it was and has always been, a place where diversity and TOLERANCE have been pillars of our society. The REAL problem with Missoula (Pops) is the fact that people have forgotten how to allow others to express themselves with out fear of someone else trying to pass judgment. And Cal, (California?) I can’t help but be disappointed with the rapid growth and over commercialization that has moved into my childhood memories and changed forever the landscape of Montana. But worse than the “elitist” and “snobs” that you refer to is the fact that you seem to forget that most of the “laboring” working class in western Montana couldn’t work or play or live on the “west side” of Higgins without the economic benefits that comes with those who shop and spend their money. I have been referred to as a “conservative” person, and would never be mistaken as a “liberal” much less a “liberal snob”. And I would prefer to be called “a native Montanan”. I don’t own or even know what the heck a “Patagucci” or “Dansko clog” is. I drive an old pickup truck, work little as possible and fly fish more than I should. I keep my negative comments to myself and smile at everyone that crosses my path. Even at the two of you if I meet you. “The people of Montana are just so nice”, was a phrase that you would hear visitors comment about our town. Please help reclaim the beauty and stop spreading the vicious attacks that have become more the norm on Higgins than kindness. We don’t need it anymore. Big Sis, showed this behavior. In what most women may consider an awkward moment, they “smiled” and “laughed” and struck up a conversation. Two complete strangers enjoying a chance encounter. I see the beauty in that. I wish I had the chance to see that instead of reading your negative comments. Leave a legacy and be remembered for the positive.

  3. I believe it is time for the editor to screen comments. A simple program allows a webmaster or host to post or dump.
    There is absolutely no need for the kind of venom spewed by ‘cal’. “cal’s’ type of post only makes the world a little dirtier and uglier and sadder.

    bloo

  4. Venom or not, censorship is not the path to take. If we allowed only the opinions we agree with or those that don’t use sour language we’d be depriving those a voice who would otherwise not have one and limiting debate on subjects we all feel so strongly about. Although we’d rather not hear it, Cal is entitled to an opinion.

  5. Awe… Does someone need a nap?

  6. Someone apparently needs their vision checked, too.

  7. Hi folks,

    We (the editors of NW) have taken down two comments here because they were in direct violation of our terms of service — they employed direct, personal attacks. (Remember, commenting here implies that you adhere to those terms, which you can read here.)

    Now, I do agree with dingo — this has to be an open forum where everyone — sophomoric or not — is entitled to his or her opinion and we’re extremely conservative in taking down comments. We also have pretty thick skin, but those kinds of direct personal attacks will not be tolerated here. While we fully encourage lively, even contentious conversations, we expect our readers and writers to maintain civility and basic human decency when posting here.

    Courtney Lowery
    Managing Editor

  8. Editor–Thank you very much for watching these comments. Your writers certainly have a right to be protected from vicious personal attacks. I read your magazine’s articles and columns because I enjoy them (and I thoroughly enjoy “Making it in Missoula”), but I have no desire to read profane and mean-spirited attacks.

  9. we go there everytime we go to the good food store on our bikes in our clogs and patagonia jackets. (i didn’t get mine at the trailhead, though. pro-deals are the way to go.)

  10. I think this is a classic case and point of how MT has changed since the 10 years I have been here…faceless personal attacks. Is everyone just too cool for school in this town now? Just remember how far a smile, opening the door for someone, thanking a driver for stopping for you to cross, not being a dick on a bike (unless its 2:00 AM…the fun bike hour), or listening to a transients story…these are Missoula values to me. Are they lost? I don’t think so…

    My Only in Missoula story…lighting up a huge joint with friends on the Old Post deck or in Charlie’s…only in Missoula.

  11. I for one believe that the comments that have been posted recently are more a result of the internet than of the changes that are slowly happening in Missoula. A prime example of JGGIFT. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

    It is one of the many reasons I’m against the anonymity of the internet provides. Deceit is all to possible when one hides behind an alias. Its this lack of anonymity, and the honesty and friendliness it creates, that makes cities like Missoula a great place to live. And is something we as a community should try to hold onto as we grow larger.

  12. Cal needs a hug.

  13. it would really suprise me if you’re from montana, cal.

    we’re all new west people. the economy is changing here. we can respect the past and move thoughtfully into the future, or get left in the dust like an old west relic.

    its not right or left, its 21st century.

    patagonia, cowboy boots, tool belts, laptops- there all welcome in the western montana my family helped bulid.

  14. I think “Brie-Eating Schmoes” is an excellent name for a rock band.

  15. Good discussion, people. Thanks for the especially nice wrap-ups, Sarah and Bob Wire.

    Here’s another “Only in Missoula Moment,” sans Patagonia but still only slightly west of Higgins:

    My truck’s was in the shop last week, and I was biking to work (Brie-Eating Schmo that I am…). I wear a helmet (like a dork, but a safe dork), and was waiting at a light. Lo and behold, my insurance salesman–fast-talking JC–drives up next to me and rolls down the window.

    “Hey, BS! How’s it goin’? Hey, last night I saw a documentary on ‘risks,’ and guess what? Drivers are 30% more likely to hit bicyclists wearing helmets versus those without helmets. They figure they won’t be as messed up after they smack into ’em, I guess! Anyway, bike safe!”

    And away my insurance man drove. I hugged the guardrail for dear life on my way into town.

    Cheers,
    BS

  16. Love this town...

    Only in Missoula during the same evening can you have a beer with John Engan at the Union Club then catch a burger with Jon Tester at the Mo Club.

  17. “Sans” is French for “without.” Montana’s not so far from Canada…a little French mot now and then won’t kill us.

    I don’t think having high-quality, comfortable, outdoorsy clothing is a crime. I don’t someone is “elitist” if they happen to spend their money on materials that are useful, look good, and will last a long time. I think doing so is a good, Missoulian attribute to have.

    I love the general feeling of freedom Missoula offers. However, freedom isn’t necessarily the freedom to disrespect others. Speaking cleanly is a bit like wearing clothing. Foul language is like going out in public naked. It may be a pronouncement of your freedom, but it’s still disrespectful to many who would prefer you to cover up your body (or clean up your mouth) a bit. I don’t think of Missoula as a place full of flippant, disrespectful, and foul-mouthed people. We should be nonjudgmental and respectful toward others, which (gasp) may sometimes require slightly restraining the hippie within.

    So, on the actual topic of this article: Here is one of my many “Missoula” moments: While talking to a friend in Missoula after we had both been away for our first year of college, I found out that we had both decorated our dorm room with a free Missoula bike map from Parks & Rec. It was a meaningful little taste of home for both of us.

  18. We should be nonjudgmental and respectful toward others, which (gasp) may sometimes require slightly restraining the hippie within.

    For those of us who might consider ourselves “hippie” now and then, that’s a pretty judgemental, disrespectful, backhanded comment to make. Kinda ruins your other points.

    As for Cal, at least there aren’t any blurry ideas on what he/she thinks of some of us. I’m kinda getting the giggles here.

    When it comes to Missoula, I love it. Doesn’t matter if I’m prancing around secretly wearing Mary Green panties (from Bella Donna, of course) under my Carharts, or scarfing down 3 or 4 burger-and-a-beer-for-a-buck delicacies at Buck’s Club. Cal, we may run into each other at Target, but you won’t catch me dead at Wal-Mart. You can have that one to yourself. Just don’t get run over by an RV.

  19. I hate tofu.

  20. Well, I wish Cal luck in making the world a better place by acting like a rabid dog, chewing up everything she comes into contact with. That will surely inspire fantastic progress toward solving the issues she is so passionate about.

    (just as a note, I’ve lived in Missoula a good 90% of my life as well).

  21. Folks,

    I’ve removed two more comments from Cal because they violated our terms of service again. (I had left the one up about me because I can take it, but took it down to be consistent. I won’t allow Cal to attack other readers here. We don’t tolerate intimidation.)

    Now Cal, you do raise some interesting points. If you’re willing to share your thoughts without directly attacking other people, go ahead. I’m actually intrigued to hear more from you. But, keep in mind, if you violate our terms again, your comments will be removed.

    Courtney

  22. Just for the record I have a pair of Dansko shoes and I think they are very comfortable. If anyone has a problem with that we can take care of it the old fashion way. By old fashion way I mean a heated game Risk. Watch out cause once I get Austraila there’s no turning back.

  23. Is the “Only in Missoula…” contest still going, or has it been cancelled in favor of a name-calling and needless stereotyping contest.

    If it’s still on, I hereby submit the winning entry:

    A few years ago I frequently ate lunch at a downtown restaurant, and I would occasionally see this incredibly beautiful woman there, eating alone, like me. One time we arrived at the restaurant at the same time, acknowledged our previous mutual sightings there, and decided to have lunch together. There are other towns that could happen in, but not many. That’s the warm-up…

    Over lunch I learaned that I was already acquainted with her sister. And I had just the week before learned that her sister’s husband (with whom I was also acquainted) wanted to leave their marriage, and asked to rent a room in my house for a few months (to which I had already said yes). But that’s not all.

    When I picked up this beautiful woman for our first real date a week later, she was living in the very apartment that my ex-wife moved into when she and I divorced the year before, and still in that apartment was a small bookshelf I had made years earlier while living elsewhere in town.

    And to top it all off, I am now married to my happenstance lunch date.

    And we now have a black lab.

  24. That is a good story.

  25. Is “and now we have a black lab” the Missoula equivalent of “and then I found fifty dollars?”

    I keed. Good story indeed.

    I have my frustrations with Missoula and its inhabitants, but I am impressed over and over with the connectedness of the place. For a city of 65,000, I sure do run into people I know and people who know people I know pretty often (the three jobs thing helps with this, I’m sure). And- they are overwhelmingly good people. Many are living their values and many recognize this amazing setting and the unique opportunity you have here to combine small-scale urban life with adjacent outdoor amenities, without having to drive through an hour of sprawl to get to them. There aren’t a lot of places in this country where you can do that.

    I have to agree with the dog crap thiong though. Only inMissoula can you watch two dreadlocked women in patchwork skirts pretend they don’t notice that precious Rover is working out a grumpy not three feet away.

  26. Way to touch it off, Big Sis! Between the scrums you incite and Mr. Wire’s flat-out good reads the Missoula division of New West is fast becoming a must-have. I have lived in or about Missoula all of my 48 years. It, like Anytown USA, has always had “cliqueish pukes”. Those of us with enough sense to know one when we see one can avoid becoming one and float relatively freely between the Elbow Room and Sean Kellys, The Forest Lounge and Charlies. Those that don’t go west of Higgins are the same ones who deep down define “Montana” as “Missoula”. Too bad for them.
    So, Big Sis, keep tossing the ball out there! It’s just really fun to read about the people and places I’ve seen and smelled – “liberal snobs, sniffing each other’s asses”, “two dreadlocked women in patchwork skirts”, and “the hemp-collared black lab running down Higgins.” Unlike Twofishtaco, I say those who would deliver unto us the nice line must have it over the poor dears who seem to think they could express themselves with out fear of someone else trying to pass judgment.