Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Hell Is Small Town North Dakota

So let me just rant a bit here.  I am here in this little town in North Dakota, and let me just say I have never been a small town gal.  (Not crazy about the word “gal” by the way, but it seems to be the going terminology here.)  Now I know, I’m only going to be here for a few weeks, but finding things to do has been remarkably hard.  It’s too bad I don’t drink anymore, because this place definitely makes a stiff drink look better and better.

Now, I don’t want to be a hater, but things here are just bizarre.  I’ve learned that with the fracking, this place has turned into a real boom town.  This leads to serious weirdness when working in the Women’s Clinic.  Every patient I see, just about, is new in town!  They’re from Florida, or Utah, or Idaho, or New York, or you name it.  They always say, “I just arrived here from X last week, and my doctor there said I needed an ultrasound after I moved.”  Of course, those records are not available.  And then I write them a prescription, and they’re all like, “Oh, where’s a pharmacy, I just got here.”  And then I have to tell them that I just got here Sunday, and I don’t have a fracking clue where they should go.  All I know is, the WalMart here is not allowed to have a pharmacy, because in these parts, pharmacies have to be owned by the pharmacist who runs them.

And speaking of WalMart, this is Sunday morning, and I got up this morning thinking I would hit the WalMart before all the church people got out and crowded the place up.  It’s a Super WalMart, so it didn’t even occur to me that it wasn’t a 24 hour WalMart.  Who in the hell has ever heard of a WalMart that doesn’t open until noon on Sundays?  Seriously, WTF?  I drove over there, thank goodness it’s close, and there were other confused people standing by the doors at the WalMart all looking dazed, because, seriously, who ever heard of a WalMart not opening until noon?  One guy didn’t even know what time zone we are in.  Of course, he and his buddies were in a big jacked up pickup, and were obviously oil workers who, yes, had just moved here out of town.  And they were as bewildered as I was.  So of course, when it opens, the parking lot will be packed with church people circling and snatching up all the good spaces, and the lines will be packed, and it will just be yuck.  I’m not even sure if I want to deal with going back there.

And there is no snow.  Of course, I brought all my camera equipment, taking up a large amount of space in my suitcase, thinking I was going to get some beautiful snow pictures of this quaint little town, and there is no snow, and everything is just brown and muddy and ugly.  I don’t even see any snow predicted for the entire time I will be here.  WTH?  This is February people, and, not to bitch, but there is supposed to be freakin’ snow here right now.

There is a tiny little mall here, and of course it is basically a ghost mall.  They have two department stores:  JC Penney (barf) and some Hertzbergers place or somesuch that I have never heard of.  And of course, it isn’t open on Sundays AT ALL.  And all the tourist attractions (what there are, seriously, I have no idea why tourists would come here) don’t open until April.  They have a dinosaur museum I would like to see, but of course, not open until April.  And there’s a little shopping-type tourist town about 30 miles up the road, but, not open until April.

The movie theater, of course, only shows “blowed ’em up real good” movies that all the oil workers want to watch.  If Jason Statham isn’t in them, seriously, they’re not showing.  I can totally see why there are so many liquor stores here.  I know I sound really intolerant; I like to travel, and I knew this was a small town when I came, but this place is seriously morbid.  And it’s not like there’s an influx of college professors here, it’s oil field workers, and as far as the eye can see, there are young, rough looking men rolling their noisy-tired monster trucks around town.  And they are bringing an influx of drugs here, and all the pregnant patients that are moving here are seriously unhealthy and obese and drug addicted.

So I am watching the clock and waiting to head for WalMart, because that will be my exciting activity for the day, which makes me physically ill, because I won’t even go to WalMart in the town where my family lives, because it is just too crowded and depressing.  And here, it is potentially the highlight of my day.

There is my rant, and I apologize for the rantiness and negativity of it, but, seriously, a girl’s gotta vent.  And it looks like my next job will be in South Dakota.  Fortunately, it will be in Rapid City, which is much larger and has the potential to contain something entertaining.  We’ll see.  I’ll be there covering for a solo practice, and I may be so busy I won’t have time to go anywhere.  At any rate, it’s getting close to noon, and if I want to get a parking space at WalMart that’s closer than the moon, I’d better go.  Wish me luck.

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12 thoughts on “Hell Is Small Town North Dakota

  1. Have you got a Netflix account? Couldn’t hurt, might help.

  2. yeah. netflix for sure. 😉 i did that move. from metroplex of millions to town of 20,000. it was … interesting. ha. hang in there!

  3. You had me at “fracking clue.” Don’t lose your sense of humor:)

  4. Hope things are better now that we’re into April… I’m about to embark on a rant myself but thought I’d check out others to see if I would just be reiterating the same old annoyances but it appears, having been born and raised in a small town my perspective is a considerably different… more retrospective and comparative although similarly negative.

  5. Tom Wickens on said:

    I used to live in North Dakota off and on from 1985 to 1997. Went to college there, worked there, got married there. Moved away in 1997 when I got a job offer for the feds that I thought would be better than the job I had with the state. It had it’s problems then but in general wasn’t that bad if you could avoid falling into the REALLY small towns where you had to be second generation at least before you got accepted.

    You must be in the “oil Patch” around Williston. Apparently NO ONE in the current government ( I didn’t vote for BUTT PIMPLE in 92 when he tried to run for Senate let alone would I vote for the idiot as Governor) remembers or cares what happend with the oil boom in the Beulah area back in the 1980s. Everything went into the toilet and then got worse! And it is apparently worse now!

    It also REALLY used to snow in the winter. I got stuck working in the security control room on the Capitol Grounds for three day in the spring of 1997 when I declared it was time to leave.

    I’m originally from Illinois and can understand what you feel about Walmart. I went to college in Bottineau and got to the point where we thought nothing of driving 80 miles to Minot once a month so we didn’t get stir crazy. You learn to adapt and got to like it. As long as I avoided dealing with some of the really small towns. But then you have to live in Bismarck or Fargo and find people in your niche.

    That was then. This is now and apparently North Dakota has gone REALLY FAR RIGHT WING WHACKO. Unbelievable how bad it seems to have gotten. If you are still there or plan to go back you have my sympathy.

    • I am still traveling back and forth for work there – it is Dickinson. Nice people, boring town, except for the hospital business, which is booming, along with the oil. They are trying to persuade me to take a permanent part-time position up there – I really don’t want to – there is nothing to do there but work and the weather SUCKS!

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