Easterners, for various reasons, like to view the inhabitants of the Mountain West as a farrago of buffoons, rugged individualists, survivalist cranks, members of strange cults, and people who are vile exploiters of the unspoiled wilderness that require counsel and enlightenment from their elite Eastern brethern and sistern.
So Cowgirl Melinda mused one afternoon after an earnest one-way discussion with fast-talking visitors to Ten Sleep, Wyoming. It was after her soothing yoga lesson: and the Child Pose, the Eagle Pose, the Plow Pose, and finally the Corpse Pose helped her get centered and not in need of a shot of house bourbon. Melinda likes some of the new ways; but the lack of a juke box in the yoga studio did give it room for improvement.
Anyway, what was this world coming to? The woman refused to respond initially when she smiled and said "howdy'; and her companion did not tip his hat like she expected.
["Oh, maybe he thinks I'm a guy because I'm in these yoga pants."]
Anyway, she was later asked if she was a survivalist. Melinda thought in terms of the Bee Gees' song "Staying Alive" and allowed that she was. As a matter of fact, life was a hoot and needed to be enjoyed.
And she was asked by the Eastern couple what she did.
"Oh, I'm just a working girl."
Disapproval crossed the woman's visage; and the man looked bemused and asked her rates. The woman really looked cross then.
Melinda did not know that the expression had a different meaning back in civilization! It is if the idea of women working is somehow shameful; particularly if they do manual labor. For the record, Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote, long before the 19th Amendment. Also, westerners tend to be diffident about their deeds rather than self-advertising. Cowgirl Melinda did allow, however, that sometimes she was a cow drover and sometimes a goose wrangler.
The Eastern lady then commented, "So you're part of the beef and paté exploitation faction? You must be a hunter too! What sorts of wildlife do you hunt?"
Melinda's response was, "Whatever's in season. Somtimes the vittles can be pretty rough withough some help."
"Are you also a member of some cult?"
"No, Ma'am. I do a church service if there's no new movie being screened and my bar tab is too high."
"Are you a member of the Tea Party?"
"No, Sir. I lean towards coffee, myself, if it hasn't been standing in the carafe too long."
"Why do you live out way beyond civilization? You are handicapped by not having current internet service and even cell phone reception is poor here."
"Ma'am, that's where the cows are so they can eat. Damned little grass growing between the asphalt."
The Eastern Dude asked Melinda if she sang to the cows or geese at night to soothe them.
"Why, no sir. I get a bonus from the trail boss for not singing unless I'm showering out of doors.
"Goodness! You do it in the open?"
"We all do in front of each other. A shower curtain is too much trouble to hang, and our showers are cold water ones too so we do it pronto and rarely. Mainly, we don't like stinkin.' All of us like hot bubble baths when we rent hotel rooms back in town."
"Are there any dangerous mountain men around these parts," the Eastern lady inquired of Melinda.
"Well no, Ma'am, unless it's payday and the bar has Olympia on tap."
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