Fargo

At the risk of not playing hard enough to get and giving you all (who actually reads this anyway?) too much of a good thing, I’m back.  Two days in a row is a lot, I realize but something needed to be said that got overlooked yesterday.  Fargo, North Dakota is full of really nice people.  I know a lot of jokes can and are made about a person who chooses to live in Fargo.  But after spending a week here, I found a lot more can be said about them than the fact that they clearly have a high tolerance for pain induced by prolonged exposure to subzero temperatures.  They’re also really really nice.  

Everyday this week I’ve interacted with several of the same people over and over again.  Now I can promise you that a week of walking into the same Federal building in Chicago everyday would have produced the same blank stares and the same thorough and invasive search of all my belongings everyday.  But here the security guards remembered me after the first day.  I’ve already had conversations with them about the weather (obviously), how I like Grand Forks, how I like the Air Force, and what I’m getting them for Christmas (I hope they were kidding).  In short, they have been nice enough to provide me with some of my only conversation all day that doesn’t involved income tax returns. 

But the security guards are only the beginning.  I’ve parked in the same lot every day this week.  A guy named Al, who wears one of those hats with the ear flaps that tie on top, sits in the little booth on the way out and hand writes receipts if you ask for one.  Since I’m here for work, I need a receipt everyday but it only took one day for Al to have my receipt ready for me so I only have to have my window down for the very bare minimum amount of time.  He smiles and points his finger at me like old men do and tells me to have a nice day.  There are a lot of places in this world where you could pay for parking for years in a row from the same clerk and they would never have the time or energy to tell you to have a nice day, let alone write you out a receipt and sign their name to it.

I was almost convinced that none of that stuff was worth mentioning but Fargo pushed me over the edge when I got back to my room to find a handwritten note from a repairman name Norbert who had worked on the noisy heater in my room.  He confirmed that I wasn’t imagining the “terrible pounding” (his words not mine) I had complained to the front desk about and sincerely apologized for any sleep I might have lost.  He said he had installed a new unit and hoped this one would be “beter.”  I also had a message waiting for me on my phone that said they were really sorry about the inconvenience and that 3000 Priority Club points had been added to my account.  Maybe I’m stingy but 3000 points is totally worth a crappy night’s sleep.

Anyway, I won’t go down the cheesy road of talking about how despite the cold the hearts here in Fargo are warm because that just makes me wince.  But Fargo is a good place and it’s just another example of how the Midwest has some of the nicest people in the world.  And to be fair I’m not exactly a world traveler but I hope some day to see quite a bit of it and I’ll keep you posted on whether my opinion of the Midwest changes – I don’t expect it will.

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3 Responses to Fargo

  1. Angela Bell says:

    This makes my heart happy…and demonstrates exactly what I miss about North Dakota. Enjoy your time there; it goes by quickly! And don’t worry, if you get stuck, someone WILL stop to help. A lady ran off the road near my house on base, and I counted 24 uniforms digging her out of the snow with their hands in -50 degree weather.

  2. Jeremy says:

    I grew up in Minot, ND, and I’ll be going to Fargo for college in a few months. Definitely excited.

    Growing up in North Dakota you kind of become (for lack of a better word) ‘spoiled’ because the crime rates are so low and the people are so friendly. Almost no one cares to lock the doors to their houses or cars here, because generally there’s nothing to worry about. So of the first few times I vacationed out of North Dakota (visited LA, Bay Area CA, Minneapolis), I thought everyone was just being a prick (especially on the highways!) until I realized that to do your job or to travel to any specific location in a big city you have to ‘go, go, go.’ ND definitely has a slower paced atmosphere.

    And Angela, that is completely true! My car slid into a snowbank last year and within 5-10 minutes 3 carloads of complete strangers stopped to help me shovel my car out.

    Also, almost every year the red river floods and Fargo has to put up sandbags to protect certain areas of the city. Thousands of people are ALWAYS volunteering, and I suspect that this unites the city together and possibly contributes to the friendly atmosphere.

    The only complaint I have about ND is that it’s so isolated! Growing up here you feel the need to explore and see the world, but that’s a pretty common attitude amongst the people within my age group who have lived here all their lives.

  3. Heather says:

    For the record, I have been entering the Federal Courthouse in Chicago for the past 3 years and several of our super awesome retired USMS smile and say hello to me every single morning and when I sneak out midday to run to Starbucks!

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