Sunday, March 27, 2011


Born And Raised in Fairbanks.  Yep. This, is how Fairbanksans who have lived here their entire lives refer to themselves. "I'm a BARF." I didn't make this up (believe me, I wish I had). I was told this by my new found hair stylist. He was proud. I like it: short, accurate, double entendre. The perfect acronym.

There is something different about people who have been born and raised in Fairbanks and have chosen to live here as adults versus those who have lived here for several decades but weren't raised here. In all fairness, this phenomenon is probably the same in all small towns. Having been raised in an even smaller town than Fairbanks, I understand. This isn't an aspersion on all BARFs. I'm sure there are many fine BARFs out there. Following is a description of my limited experience.

Several weeks ago I had a date. With a BARF. It did not go well. Let's just get that out in the open. We met at a local restaurant for a drink. Before arriving I had decided there were two options for this date: 1) stay for dinner or 2) have a drink and still make it to my 7:15 Crossfit class. Within two minutes of meeting him let him know that I couldn't stay long because of my gym commitment.

The date was a disaster from the start. It wasn't that he looked nothing like his pictures or that he was 10 years older than he claimed. No, he was boring. I watched the minute hand of the clock above the bar inch its way toward my freedom. How long did I have to stay?

I ordered a glass of wine. It did nothing to ease my pain. The guy was a bore and all I could think about the entire time I was there, was how I know other people who if could only communicate by blinking once for no and twice for yes, would be more fun and interesting than this BARF.

Then he started in on the pollution which must be the compliant du jour of BARFs. Fairbanks does have a slight air quality issue but honestly, it's never bothered me and not something I even notice. According to a lady BARF I met on the Seattle to Anchorage leg of my flight here, Fairbanks air is worse than that of Los Angeles. Some days she can't even leave her house! Frankly, she didn't know what was going to kill her first -- lung cancer from said air pollution or cancers related to her vitamin D deficiency. In my two months in Fairbanks, I've seen nothing but the clearest of skies if it hasn't been snowy or cloudy. The Bay Area rarely has clear days to the extent that Fairbanks does. I asked the woman why she didn't relocate. "I could never leave!" She looked at me as if I had suggested she give me her Carhartt's.

But I digress. I met the BARF the night before I left for the "3 H's Spring Break Anchorage Road Trip" (to be detailed in a future post). I mentioned the trip, mostly because I was running out of things to say. And the BARF wasn't holding up his end of the conversational turn-taking. Upon hearing that I was planning to drive, not fly to Anchorage, the BARF was aghast. "You're going to drive? This time of year? You are taking a big chance with the roads!" I replied I have been told they were all but clear and I was sure we'd be fine; besides, it'd be cheaper than flying. This sparked another debate about whether it was cheaper to drive, what with $4/gallon gas prices. A raven pecking my eyeballs out would have been a welcome respite from talking to this man.

I didn't bother to regale him with my road trip history or the number of times I've driven 6+ hours by myself, at night, through the Sierra's to set up camp in the dark, only to discover the next morning that my tent was in a parking lot not a campsite. Okay, that instance is perhaps not the best exemplar of my abilities. However, I'm willing to bet I've had more experience than this guy doing anything at all, including driving to Anchorage. I asked him when he last went to Anchorage. Back in 2006, he thought. And he flew.

He was going to tell me about roads that he hasn't been on in half a decade? And then, he tells me, after I asked what he likes to do around town, that he stays home and is on Facebook all the time. Barf.

Okay, I know we all spend more time on Facebook than is probably good for us. I'm as guilty as the next person, I freely admit this. But, to lead with that fact -- on a first date? He wasn't joking and he didn't even try to come up with something else.

45 minutes into this hot mess, I bailed. I told the BARF it was time for me to leave. He seemed surprised. The gym, I reminded him. If tardy I'd have to do 50 burpees. (Not true, but it sounded good.) He asked the bartender for the check. I had ordered a glass of wine, he a bloody mary and an appetizer. The check came and I assumed everything was on the same bill. I pulled out my wallet and asked him what I could contribute for my wine. He sat up, looked at the bill, and said, "Your drink isn't on here. Oh, did you want me to pay for your drink?" He snickered as he said this.

A bore AND he wasn't going to pay for my drink? I threw some money at the bartender and ran from the building while he brushed food out of his mustache. Barf.

As my friend Susan says, "the odds are good but the goods are odd." Can I get an amen! 

Oh, and by the way...the Parks Highway to Anchorage was perfectly clear: no snow or ice, beautiful.

Best of all, I saw Denali -- my heart. 

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