An Ode to Bozeman
The Homogenized Milk of Northwestern Towns, and Autumn Activities to Prevent Total Ennui Within It
by Birdie Hall
Fall is upon us again, blablabla another year of more rich people moving in and poor people moving out. The sweet sounds of the blandest Americana music imaginable waft from every Subaru window, thousands of identically Patagonia clad college kids sink within the few downtown coffee shops, and it all seems the same here as it was five years ago when I moved to town. This is the whitest place I have ever lived. The same bluegrass bands and bourgie restaurants stagnate forward, while the truly pedestrian and shameful frat-bars keep raging louder and louder every year with the sounds of young adults who have lost all light in their eyes.
To be completely frank, I’m kind of over living here. I love the outdoors, I love sitting in peace and quiet as nature intended, but I hate the culture surrounding it. It’s sad witnessing a monstrous amount of 18-25-year-old adults bumbling around idly, talking about the same high end outdoor brands or drinking the same copious amount of sugary drinks at downtown bars. If for any reason you should share such misanthropic, self indulgent tendencies as I do on the topic of white bread, organic/ non-gmo Bozeman culture, then stick around. I will grant to you my sage advice for three ways to get in touch with your inner pseudo-bohemian, even here in Bozeman.
1 Tucked snugly between two downtown stores that I won’t describe out of respect for myself and others, there sits our holy church of the misunderstood: The jazz and book store. Go to Vargo’s and get yourself a book to read. You will not find socks with your favorite author’s face here, nor will you find a flawlessly executed front display of balloons or monthly themes. But you will absolutely find whatever Edward Abbey or Jack Kerouac it was you were looking for. It’s on a completely different plane then any other store downtown. You go into Vargo’s to walk out with knowledge. Stare at the postcards. Look at the record pile beneath the stairs. Talk to anyone who is working. If it is raining and you cannot get out of bed, it is time to go to Vargo’s. You think you have it bad? Listen to Leadbelly howling from the turntable, maybe you do have it really bad. Regardless, you will find solace in the music playing, get yourself a book describing tortured artists, and read away your sorrows.
2 Smoke on the sidewalk downtown. Nothing will make you feel either much better or worse than watching the pristinely healthy stare at you like that cigarette was something much worse than it is. I’d recommend stationing yourself on the bench outside the gorgeously decaying Ellen theatre, shaded by the enormous sign above. As you count the dozens of people in a row from above the book in your hands, observe how many carry their co-op lunches with disdainful looks on their faces. Just remember that you will die before they do: Which is probably a good thing. Just kidding, look forward to seeing “The End of the Tour” a movie about your hero David Foster Wallace on October 7 there!
3 When the weather starts to descend into the soft frost of Montana autumn, and the woes of your futile high education begin to sneak in with essays due and pages needing to be read, it is time to buy a gallon of Carlo Rossi (more affectionately known as Hobo wine) with your best friends, and make a midnight pilgrimage to the railroad tracks: Down the steep hill, across the tracks, and under the bridge. I’d recommend sitting with your best friends on the high ledge covered in graffiti, five feet from the railroad. When the train goes by and you’re all yelling together in French, a sudden wave of euphoria will wash over you. You have friends who make sarcastic references to the Dharma Bums, and you share this moment of drunken togetherness together.
I hope that at least some of these tips can provide ideas for a fulfilling, exciting autumn, I know they’ll provide plenty of good ones for mine!