March 28, 2006 in Features

Local vibes surface on the road

Paul Turner The Spokesman-Review

OK, where were we.

Oh, yeah. Shoes-off rules, learning the facts of life and the sayings of old-school dads.

Tell you what. Let’s put old business on hold a little longer.

There’s something I want to run by you.

Have you ever had a “Man, I’ve really turned into a Spokanite” moment?

I have.

I did some traveling recently and this dawning occurred over and over.

Looking at the breakfast menu at one of the hotels where I stayed, I was appalled to see that the basic eggs, potatoes and orange juice I wanted would cost $20.

I went ahead and ordered it. But I also brought it up in conversation multiple times that day. And at some point, I realized.

Spokane’s values really have seeped into my soul.

This shouldn’t come as some big shock. It’s not like I just moved here.

In fact, I started work at the S-R on this date in 1988.

But like more than a few transplants I know, I tended to see myself as somewhat apart from Spokane lifers when it came to a few local foibles such as, well, roaring cheapness.

OK, I’m still not what anyone would regard as a big bargain hunter. I understand that sometimes you get what you pay for.

But man, $20 for breakfast? Give me a break.

That wasn’t the end of it, of course.

My increasingly Spokane-centric world view raised its head several other times.

Once, while driving on a crowded California freeway, I had the thought, “This is just too many cars.”

And another time, upon seeing a line for airport security screening that looked like a mass migration of refugees, my heart sank and I found myself thinking, “This is insane – people can’t live like this.”

To be fair, I cannot really blame all these reactions on my Inland Northwest mindset.

There are lots of men and women living here who travel all the time and take crowds and high prices in stride.

Maybe I just need to come to grips with a simple truth: I’m not quite the unflappable sophisticate I imagined myself to be.

I can live with that. Besides, my Spokane-honed sense for right and wrong serves me well sometimes.

I went for a long walk in Oakland one morning last week. I wanted to see a classic Fox Theater (now surrounded by a high chain-link fence topped with barbed wire) and a few other sights. When I got back to my hotel and described my route to a doorman, his face showed concern.

But I assured him I didn’t linger in any dicey areas.

I’m not crazy, I could have said. I’m just from Spokane.

“Today’s Slice question: What’s the best/worst thing about the leap to Daylight Saving Time? (It happens this weekend.)

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