Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the tag “fracking”

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.

Things I Have Learned In North Dakota

1.  They actually expect you to know North, South, East and West when they give you directions on how to go somewhere in town.  Seriously?  Nobody from the South knows what direction they are headed.  That’s because in our part of the country, a lot of the roads are laid out along old carriage trails, and they wind, and curve, and double back on each other.  So telling me to head North is like telling me to close my eyes and pick a direction.

2.  Soft drinks are referred to as soda pop.  In the South, all soft drinks are called Cokes whether they are or not.

3.  They actually DON’T talk the way they do in the movie Fargo.  At least not in this part of North Dakota.  It’s more a Midwestern twang.

4.  They have two seasons:  Shovel and Swat.

5.  The state bird is the mosquito.  The state tree is a telephone pole.  (Thanks to Rose Chimera, who filled me in).

6.  It is freaking cold.  And there are no trees, or hills, or anything to block that howling wind.  It’ll whip the hood right off your jacket.

7.  Catholic hospitals don’t do birth control.

8.  The process of fracking is turning small North Dakota towns into boom towns.  People are pouring in for work and they can’t keep up with the housing.  They can’t even put up trailers fast enough.  And a lot of these folks don’t know how to drive on snow and ice.  Driving is now dangerous in the winter just due to all the out-of-towners who don’t have a clue.

9.  WalMart can’t have a pharmacy.  In North Dakota, pharmacies must be owned by the pharmacist who runs them.

10. Serious Note To Self:  12 packs of soda pop forgotten in the car trunk explode.  Violently.  And you can’t get the soda pop out of the car, or expect it to dry up because it is frozen solid and stuck to the carpet.  Not sure how the car rental people will respond to this.

11. I think I may be coming down with the flu.

Come To The Land Of The Ice And Snow

So here is how I, a presumed redneck toothless Southerner, imagine that my upcoming trip to North Dakota will go:

I will undergo a full body cavity search when embarking on my journey out of Alabama because I send off some kind of weird vibe to the TSA that causes them to believe I am a Hijabi on a Jihad.  Don’t ask me why, because I am a little white German girl with blue eyes, but there is something about me that screams to the TSA:  TERRORIST!  I am the one chosen out of every line to be randomly searched, radiated and mauled.  Every single time.  They even did it once when I was travelling with my ten month old daughter – I literally had to hold her in one arm while I held the other one out so they could pat me down, and then switch her to the other arm so they could pat the other side.  She was screaming in terror of the strangers in their blue gloves.  I can’t say I blame her.

When I arrive in Denver, I will climb into a rickety prop plane that resembles the one full of goats and chickens in Romancing the Stone.  Yes, I am showing my age here.  The goats will actually be caribou, and the chickens will be those snow-shoes feathery footed birds that I can’t spell.  We will bounce wildly up and down in the frosty air, because the wings and prop will be freezing over.

We will land with a thud.  And a skid, because the runway will be covered with glacial ice.  We will have to climb down the stairs of the plane onto the icy tarmac, I in my puffy coat, and the cold will hit with a blinding force that will remind me exactly what a bad idea it was to go to North Dakota in the winter time.  There will be a blizzard.  And a whiteout.  I will not be able to see my hand in front of my face.

When I arrive at the Rent-A-Car place, half frozen, they will give me a Prius to attempt to drive on ice.  And it will not have snow chains or whatever thingies that I don’t know about to keep me from skidding off the road.  I will have to stagger out into the frozen tundra to find my car in the lot, which will be frozen shut with sheets of ice.  I will be unable to open the doors.  I will not have an ice scraper.  The GPS in the car will not work.

I will get lost trying to drive from the airport to the hotel.  I may slide into a ditch.  I may or may not be rescued by large Paul Bunyan-like men in red flannel coats and hats with earflaps who say, “Oh, yah” a lot.  I will finally find my hotel, and stagger, a frozen docsicle, weeping into the lobby.  I will have to go back outside and get my stuff and I may or may not get frostbite.

My first night there, I will listen to coyotes and wolves howling outside my room.  And the constant sound of fracking.  I may be going to a fracking boomtown.  I will learn everything I never wanted to know about fracking.  The room will probably be icy cold, and I will sleep in my coat.

Overnight, a massive blizzard will have descended on the town and covered the roads.  They will not be cleared and I will have no idea how to find the hospital.  Or how to drive there.  I will finally get there, and I will be late, and my nose will have the beginning stages of frostbite.  When I find the clinic and Labor and Delivery, the nurses will all have incredibly funny accents, right out of the movie Fargo.  There may or may not be murderous kidnapping psychopaths throwing people into wood chippers.  There may or may not be a pregnant cop whose husband designs postage stamps.  They will all say, “Oh, yah,” and then make tremendous fun of my Southern accent.  They will get me to talk just so they can hear how funny I sound.  They will ask me, “Say y’all,” and I will say YAWL with the biggest Southern drawl that you can imagine.  I will hit them with all my little Southern witticisms.  I will be an ambassador of Southerness!  I will show the world that just because I come from Alabama, I still have all my teeth!  And then we’ll sit down and have one of those incredibly gross bowls of french fries with gravy slopped all over them.  Cause that’s how they roll up there.

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