L.A. Versus Missoula Montana — Hmmm…

First of all, let me just say that I didn’t apply for this job, okay?  I have never written a blog in my life.  If there’s some sort of blogging etiquette or blogger’s credo, I did not get the memo.  I’m a complete greenhorn.  So then why am I doing this? … I don’t know.  I think someone asked me.  I’m not sure.  It was dark.

I was told I can blog about anything as long as it somehow relates to Missoula – a town I have not lived in since I graduated from high school 175 years ago. I don’t know a lot about Missoula today, other than what I read in The Missoula Independent Online. Once or twice a year my parents fly me home, partly to see me, but mostly to service their computers.

Missoula has changed quite a bit since I lived here, but I can still see that it has managed to maintain its sense of community – there’s the Farmer’s Market, downtown festivals and events in Caras Park. I also still notice that the folks in your neighborhood wave to you as your cars pass on the street. This sort of thing doesn’t happen at all in Los Angeles, which is where I live. Oh, my neighbors give each other the occasional passing gesture, but most of them involve the middle finger, and it doesn’t quite have the same effect. Funny the difference a few fingers can make.

I loved growing up in Missoula and if I had children, I would definitely choose to raise them there as opposed to Los Angeles, because let’s face it, kids are trouble. The bigger the town you live in, the greater the opportunity for them to hook up with a group of felons without your knowledge. It’s too hard to keep track of them. Both you and your spouse commute 30 miles in opposite directions to work. Your weekends are booked with cleaning, grocery shopping, spa appointments, fantasy football. You just don’t have time to keep track of Johnny to make sure he’s not cooking up a batch of meth somewhere with his friends, or setting up a Ponzi Scheme to defraud unsavvy fifth graders of their lunch money. Children know that living in a sprawling metropolis means they have the room to get away with practically anything. It’s true, and I will back up that statement with a quick comparison using the following scenario…

You are a sophomore in high school. One afternoon you and your boyfriend ditch class and drive around town in your dad’s car.

So, there you are smooching at a red light on the corner of Higgins and Main (‘cuz you gotta do something to pass the time), when the car directly behind you starts madly honking. Now, what are the odds that the person in the honking company vehicle is your father? In Los Angeles, the odds are zero. You are free to drive on and rob the nearest convenience store. In Missoula, well, you might want to ask my sister, because this is exactly what happened to her.

I was there when she came barreling through the kitchen door in full-blown hysterics. “I have to run away, because Dad is going to kill me when he gets home from work!”

“Oh, my god!” I screamed. “Does this mean I can have your room!”

In the end, however, she did not run away, he did not kill her, I did not get my own room. But my sister also never robbed a convenience store and she learned a valuable lesson as well. Never again did she stop for a red light while ditching school with her boyfriend in my dad’s car.

And that, Missoulians, is one of the reasons why your town is a much better place to live and raise a family than my city – if for no other reason than the sheer joy of instilling crippling paranoia into your children that you may be lurking behind every corner and every red light. Watching … Waiting …

So, that’s my blog. I hope you enjoyed it. If you didn’t, please feel free to contact The MakeitMissoula staff and tell them so that both you and I will never be subjected to this kind of torture again.

Missing Missoula,


BIO:  Carol Chrest is a bitter old spinster living in Los Angeles. When she’s not working ridiculous hours at her cruddy day job, she writes screenplays.  She drinks.