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Disputations and Usufructs

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

            Don’t you hate it when snobs use $20 words when nickel ones will do? My least favorite words at the moment are metrosexual, shapewear and paradigm. 

In reading a couple books recently, I had to grab the dictionary to find out what “disputations” and “usufructs” were. The wordinistas have gone so crazy that now they’re using several words where one worked just fine before, like appearance deficit in place of ugly, gravitationally challenged to replace fat, negative patient care outcome in place of dead and intergenerational intimacy, for which I have no idea.

            Now one can add to the list “the urban/rural interface.” Suddenly it’s the place to be. 

For those who are a bit nebulous, ambiguous or equivocal about what we’re talking about, I have put together a circular and will serve as docent as we reconnoiter this anomalous land called the urban/rural interface.

            If a horse is someone’s daily driver, they belong on the rural side of the interface, but if “horse” is a game someone played on asphalt schoolyards in the neighborhood with a basketball, they definitely belong on the urban side of the line.

            If there is only five inches of drywall and Douglas Fir separating someone from their closest neighbor, I think it’s obvious on which side of the line they fall. 

Likewise, I think it is just as obvious if one is telling someone how to get to their abode and it sounds something like this, “Get off the freeway at 23rd street, turn left onto 10th and you’ll see several huge apartment complexes. I live in the only one on the right that hasn’t been fire-bombed. Using the phone by the entrance to my apartment building, you’ll get a code from me then go up 40 stories and I’m in 40017. Granted, it’s not the best neighborhood in town but it’s only $4,700 a month. I know, I know, I’m one lucky inhabitant. By the way, it’s probably best to come during daylight hours. And bring mace or pepper spray.”

            If someone can’t see their nearest neighbor and he or she is in a different zip or area code, they definitely fall on the rural side of the interface. Ditto if directions to the ranch sound something like this, “Go through a town called Dirty Socks about five miles and you’ll see a big cottonwood tree. Turn right. When you run out of pavement it’s still another two miles. Just when you think you’re lost you’ll come to a big heavy green panel acting as a gate. Make sure you close it behind you. You’ll see our house at the end of the dirt road. Be sure to call ahead so we can chain up the dogs and unload the shotgun.”

            Those falling in the “urban” category work out at a gym, eat foie gras at an expensive restaurant called “The Parts House,” drive an electric car or bike, hear sirens and gunfire all night, see the tallest buildings snuff out the sun and all the fences are six feet of chain link with rolls of concertina wire on top to keep the criminals out and suffer from something called “urban survival syndrome.” 

            On the other hand, people living in what used to be called “the country” work out at work, have no vegetarian or vegan entree at the auction market cafe, think the parts house is where the wife goes to buy expensive tractor or truck parts, hear coyotes at night – and more often the blood curdling cry of the wolf. They drive a combine, horse or four-wheeler to work, all their fences have five wires to keep the cows in, the tallest building in town is either a silo or a water tower painted in high school colors complete with a mascot welcoming everyone to town, and they don’t suffer from any type of survival syndrome because they have a big safe full of firearms with loads of ammunition.

            The word “hunting” means different things to folks on either side of the urban/rural interface. On the urban side of the interface people “hunt” for parking spaces while on the rural side they hunt for dinner.

To urban residents the letters BLM stand for Black Lives Matter, while on the rural side of the interface they stand for Bureau of Land Management. In my opinion, the two organizations have several characteristics in common.

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