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Vermonters - by Megan Estey

For such a small state, Vermont has an amazing amount of diversity among its people. All of the people you find here, as in any place, are not necessarily residents. Vermonters can be classified into four basic groups: the tourists, the rednecks and rmers, the “Vermont-Is-The-Only-Place-To-Be”ers and the “I’m-Just-Here-Till-I-Turn-Eighteen” group.

Tourists are generally pretty easy to recognize. If you see someone wandering down the cement sidewalk of Bristol’s Main Street wearing a fur coat and leather boots, chances are they’re a tourist (however, it is also possible they are part of the “Ei teen” group, trying to convince people they do not live here). Tourists are the ones heard making comments like, “Look! A video store! In Vermont!” and “Isn’t that funny? These people look just like the people back home!” They are also the ones w , in reference to the town drunk, would say something like, “Oh, isn’t that just too authentic? How quaint.” They waddle down the streets in herds of at least six, wearing fanny packs and cameras and sunglasses on strings around their necks, oohi and ahhing at everything they see. These are the people who drive for hours for the sole purpose of seeing leaves. That’s right, leaves. Of course, the autumn leaves are red and yellow and orange rather than their usual green, but still; ey’re only leaves.

It is possible for a person to be both a redneck and a farmer, but that is not always the case. The rednecks are the ones who eat from four food groups: bird, rabbit, deer, and roadkill. Their favorite pastime is drinking beer on the front porch or i the back of someone’s pickup truck. Farmers may possess some of the preceding characteristics, but for the most part they are too busy spending every waking hour taking care of ungrateful animals that kick them in the ribs and moo at all hours of the da and night.

The “Vermont-Is-The-Only-Place-To-Be”ers are actually made up of several different groups. Nature lovers and artists make up most of this division, along with people who have moved from a city or suburb. The fact that it is entirely possible to drive wenty miles without seeing any sign of civilization appeals to them for some reason. Artists say that Vermont is an “inspirational” place to work. It seems to me that mountains of trees wouldn’t be a source of much inspiration, but I suppose it would be f someone liked trees a lot. After all, you could also paint a picture of grass, or write a poem about a bird-- assuming you’re also a nature lover. What confuses me is what exactly inspires the artists or writers who aren’t Mother Nature’s bigge fans.

The last group is the “I’m-Just-Here-Till-I-Turn-Eighteen” group, not to be confused with the “I’m-Just-Here-Till-I-Turn-Eighteen-And-Join-A-Gang-With-Which-I- Can-Run-Away-To-Mexico-And-Buy-Cheap-Drugs” group which is found in Harlem and other borou s of New York City. These people are mostly high school students who have spent their entire existence in Vermont and have realized that there is probably more to life than hunting and chasing squirrels out of the road. They want nothing more than to gr uate their third-rate high school and be accepted to a college away from home. Far away from home. Preferably in another state. Another country would also be acceptable.

If I had to classify myself into one of these groups, it would be the “Eighteen” group. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with Vermont... but I have been here so long that the charm is beginning to wear off.

November 1999