Ted’s essays

cultural divide

In responding to my daughter who felt our Montana reunion last summer was a disaster, I found I could not share most of my thoughts. They would be quite unhelpful.

Her San Francisco family of three along with an Idaho mother in-law and her brother’s Utah family of eight rented a vacation lodge. While there were some frictions there, they increased when that group combined with the Bitterroot elders, and further while visiting the homesteading family of six.

I realized in the 1990s I did not fit the California culture, and, significantly, that I could somewhere else. Shopping online I found a more appropriate community, moving to Idaho late winter 2000-2001. A dozen years later I snuggled into an even better fit with our move to The Bitterroot.

That is two giant steps from Northern California which was at the time a cultural giant step from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Our gathering was at the height of mosquito season outside their lodge next to the Bitterroot River’s East Fork. Yet when the Idaho and Montana elders were enjoying a late evening socio-political discussion around the dining table, the younger generation stayed outside, literally.

A century ago, they would have listened. In their cities today they can accept gays, body modifiers, gender benders and a complete frappé of our language, but have powerful intolerance towards the society I call home.

Interestingly, the crack that became the canyon may have been her high school history book the Bay Area’s Marin Academy taught from. Therein I tripped over a distinctly different telling of our country’s development.

WHOA! One of these is wrong, and I fear it is the one I have been believing all my life. Quick. Close the book.

I was busy. I didn’t have the head-space for a cultural rebuild. But the fissure grew.

Now I do not believe a bridge across it can be engineered. While she thinks I don’t understand the world on her side of the Matrix, I know she doesn’t understand mine… and cannot.

This morning I was struggling with an attempt to explain it to her, when I looked up at my bookshelf.

I’ll explain the bookshelf later, but it is all there.