You Can Go Home Again: Word Nerd Returns to Her Roots

Greetings Blog Reading Peeps! Following is the text from my first weekly column that appeared today in the Devils Lake Journal, as part of my new job as reporter/ad sales rep.

Driving Miss Lisa
You Can Go Home Again: Adjusting to Life in My Hometown

“You Can’t Go Home Again” is the name of a novel written by author Thomas Wolfe in 1940. It also became a phrase meaning that once you left your small hometown for a large city, you couldn’t return and adapt to life in your town again, and that such a return might mean you were a failure.

I beg to differ. I left Devils Lake many years ago, first to attend UND, followed by a move to Denver CO, followed by a move to Washington DC and then back to Colorado. I returned to Devils Lake about a mongh ago and – following a phone interview while still in Colorado and an in-person interview upon my arrival – I was hired by the Devils Lake Journal within a week! So there is one success right off the bat! As for adapting to life in a small town after so many years living Life in the Big City, I admit it is requiring some acclimation! One of my best high school gal pals, who still lives here in DL, has said several times since my return – you’re going to go through culture shock. Well, shock might be too strong of a word – maybe culture adjustment. I am, however, quite surprised by one thing that’s requiring some adjustment.

For example, you would think driving in a small town compared to a big city would be a piece of cake. Instead, it’s presenting some unexpected challenges. For one thing, I’m finding navigating residential streets dotted with numerous stop and yield signs a bit tricky. When going about my day in Denver, I primarily relied on traffic lights indicating when I should stop and go. Wait times at lights were often a couple of minutes, and during rush hour it might take one or two rounds of the red, yellow, green cycle before being able to proceed. This meant I could daydream about winning the lottery, touch up my makeup, yack on the phone – you get the idea – until the green light told me it was ok to proceed. Now I have to be the sole decision maker at the numerous stop signs I encounter in my daily DL driving route – many of which aren’t four-way stops. So no lollygagging – I need to be alert, gauge oncoming car speeds, ready to forge ahead at precisely the right time! I find myself rapidly cranking my head back and forth so many times, I think I may have suffered a minor case of whiplash! And my stop sign phobia was only compounded when there was a three-car accident at one of the previously mentioned stop sign intersections my first week in DL!

Being a notoriously non-morning person, I find this navigation particularly challenging in the morning – even though my commute only consists of a few blocks. Also adding to my driving challenges is that in a small town like Devils Lake street parking is more prevalent than in large cities, obstructing my oncoming traffic view and making the “should I stay or should I go now” decision even more difficult! Speaking of parking, DL streets often often require parallel parking – something I very seldom encountered in Big City Life. I do believe as a teen-ager I may have flunked my first driver’s license test here in DL because of inadequate parallel parking, and I don’t think I’ve made much improvement since!

Now all that being said, when you see me behind the wheel of my Barney the Purple Honda with its CO plates, you might want to cut me a wide berth, or you could just give me a friendly welcome back to DL wave!

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Lisa, Gainfully Employed and Paid Writer!

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