I found my first Mainer of the whole trip! It seems fitting that this most fortunate of encounters occurred in Eugene – there seems to be some kindred-ness of spirit between the Northwest and the Northeast. It was discovered upon settling our bill at breakfast this morning that our server was newly arrived from the East Coast. Where on the East Coast? Why, Maine, of course! Not only was he from Maine, but he most recently lived in Portland (on Brackett St.) and displayed the requisite enthusiasm at seeing my Bath Savings Institution debit card. He still has his Camden National card.
It’s funny how regionalism creates such bonds between strangers. I’ve noticed it with other New Englanders, even those from as far away (and as terrible a place) as Connecticut. I think part of the fun of nomad-ing is finding people in such dispersal who share common roots. Whether it’s just because it gives you common ground on which to start a conversation, or because you know someone somewhere so unfamiliar can understand you in a way no one else there can (sometimes people look at you funny if you say “wicked”), it is always heartening to find a comrade from your corner of the world. It just seems to happen to people from, say, the Midwest far more often it does for Ye Olde New Englanders. Though this could have much to do with the fact that people from New England are either a. old-timey fishermen who don’t want to leave or b. self-actualized enough to realize that there’s really no reason to live anywhere except New England, and henceforth New Englanders do not necessarily venture West as often as, say, people from Michigan or Wisconsin where it seems there is nothing else to do at home except make cheese and grow cherries.
In any case, we New Englanders feel a special bond with each other and are therefore unequivocally thrilled to find one another in these most remote outposts of civilization.