The Rural Montana Survival Guide

Living in rural Montana is a lot like being duct-taped inside a refrigerator box with a bear.  It's dangerous.  However, there are some steps you can take to ensure your survival.  In rural Montana, I mean.  Not the one with the bear in the box.  That's probably going to be fatal no matter what.

1.  Learn to tell the difference between dangerous mountain-people and not-as-dangerous mountain-people

Your environment will be a minefield of crazed-looking individuals who reek of beer-sweat and failure.  Some of them will be dangerous and some will merely be your fellow Safeway patrons.


2.  Already have all of the furniture you will ever need  

The people of rural Montana do not seem to grasp the concept of depreciation.  Your local Craigslist and newspaper classifieds will be overrun with ads for five-hundred-dollar "vintage" mattresses and three-hundred-dollar "handcrafted plywood end tables."  Exclamation points will be used in unnecessary amounts.

The bottom line is that you will not be able to afford/find furniture. Unless you somehow have an extensive gun collection that you are willing to barter.  Guns are used as a sort of primitive currency here.  




3.  Beware of garage sales.  They might actually be traps. 

Once you realize that Craigslist is useless in your area, you might be tempted to turn to yard sales and garage sales.  This could prove to be a bad idea and may end with you being enrolled in a baptist fellowship against your will.  

You will start your day with high hopes.  Maybe you want a futon or a lamp.  Maybe a new table.  Your search will eventually lead you out of town a little ways.  There, you'll see a large sign nailed with purpose to a telephone pole.  It will say "Garage Sale!!!" 


It is not a garage sale.  It is a trap.   

Once you have ventured inside the garage to peruse the shiny, tastefully-arranged merchandise, you will be approached by an adorable old woman named Rose.   She'll say "There's more stuff inside.  Come on in!"  You will feel disarmed by the fact that she appears to be a harmless old lady with no agenda.  You will enter her house and begin looking through the items for sale.  She will come up behind you and say "So what do you do for work, Sweetheart?"  You will feel tempted to tell her that you don't have a job yet.  DO NOT DO THIS.  If you do, she will ask for your phone number and you will give it to her because "she has a friend who might need a babysitter" and you are desperate for money.   Immediately after carefully inserting your contact information into her rolodex, she will nonchalantly ask "So... have you enrolled in a fellowship yet?"  You will not know what a fellowship is.  It won't matter.  Your soul has just been sneak-saved!

(Note:  Rose's "garage sale" is a year-round event.  Even in the depth of winter, she's there bravely sneak-saving her victims.) 

4.  Don't just be a defensive driver.  Become pure reflexes and agility.  

If you feel the need to leave the safety of your home and get into an automobile and drive to Super One, be prepared.  It's going to be like playing Grand Theft Auto on chaos mode.  And it is going to infuriate you because no one will even notice that they almost killed you.  They'll pull out of K-Mart without even looking.  If you honk at them, they'll be all surprised and look at you like "what the fuck are you doing in my road?" They think they are great drivers.  This is because they spend most of their time driving in places where they can miss the road by ten feet and not even notice. 

Allow me to illustrate with a diagram:



5.  Hone your dog-monster fighting skills

You will be attacked by a dog-monster at some point.  These beasts resemble the average dog except they are vicious killing-machines that are not restrained in any way.


Your best bet for survival is probably to find a rock that is blunt on one end for bludgeoning and sharp on the other for stabbing.  You will need to do both and it is useful to have one hand free to sacrifice as a distraction, so having both a stabbing and bludgeoning surface on the same rock is essential.  

If the thought of beating/stabbing a monster that slightly resembles a dog made you feel any emotion other than battle-rage, you will not survive.  

6.  Also hone your cow-fighting skills



7.  Also hone your bear-fighting skills

Nevermind.  Bears always win. 

63 comments:

Christina In Wonderland said...

You know, most of these rules apply for my hometown. Apparently rural Georgia is not so different from Montana.

They're practically, like, twins.

Allie said...

Christina - Yeah, rural Idaho (where I grew up) is pretty much the same, too. I think we need to come up with a national rural-area survival contingency plan.

Jay Ferris said...

I have never wanted to visit a place more in my entire life. How you haven't been scooped up by the Montana tourism board is beyond me. Seriously, add an exclamation point to any of those things and you've got yourself some kick-ass copy.

Allie said...

Jay - I'll contact the tourism board and tell them that I have a masterfully-crafted "intrigue-piece" on Montana. If they don't know how to read, maybe I'll be able to sneak it by them based on the pictures that can be interpreted as: 1. friendly locals! 2. Comfy! 3. Real estate! 4. Complicated/awesome graph-type thing! 5. Dogs are welcome! Even offleash! Even off medication! 6. We have our own Running of the Bulls ever day! 7. Petting zoo!

om said...

Wo. It's just like Frankston, except they trade in ciggies and beer. And fifty-cent loans so they can make a phone call/buy a train ticket/ score some meth. Note: Our derros are scarier than the bears.

Jenny Brown said...

You are frickin' hilarious.....where do you come up with this shit!?

Allie said...

Om - Scarier than bears??? Holy shit. And I'm glad you mentioned the cigarettes and beer. Those are lesser forms of currency around here, but still influential in the marketplace.

Jenny - Thank you! It helps that I live in monsterdog-bear-cow-meth-sneak-save-overpriced-couch-ville. :)

Veronica Marcetti Dimick said...

I live in the city, and unfortunately, my soul still gets sneak-saved all the time and bad drivers still act all mad when I am in their road -- I am almost killed by drivers at least 6 times during my daily commute. But I don't have to hone my cow-fighting skills. But YOU get to look at lovely scenery in rural Montana. I look at slush, buildings, and ugly people. So many trade-offs ...

Tony said...

I used to live in downtown Portland, and I thought that place was scary with all the meth heads and diseased women...but rural Montana sounds like a beast! Bears in refrigerator boxes?! YIKES! Mountain men?! They really are both extremely intimidating and scary. And don't get me started on old ladies that seem sweet...they're just crazy bastards.

Amanda West said...

Hm, sounds like Georgia! Except without the Safeways... More like Krogers.

Ed said...

Got my Sharkbear shirt today.

Looks fucking AWESOME!

I'm taking a pic of me wearing it.

And then I'm getting into my car to come find some Montana mountain people. I'm in the market for a new old couch.

JP said...

Sounds totally like Alabama, except we don't have bears, we have coyotes (pronounced "ky-otes").

We have meth-heads (even a "meth mountain" so big it was covered on "Intervention" on A&E) and def. bad drivers and all sorts of "sneak saves" except they knock on your door and sneak save you on your own turf.

j.l.n. said...

shiiiiiiit, i look out my window and see this everyday.

except hazardkentucky.com is our craiglist.

that fact i just said kentucky is enough explanation.

our local currency? a couple of Xanax and your 14 year old daughter's first born.

Barbara said...

This guide can probably be applied to any rural town in America. I'll keep it in the back of my head the next time I venture into those parts.

Dyinetch said...

lol! really hilarious. and your #3 happens a lot over here too! except the old lady is not named Rose. She is Marissa! Old, ugly, dry skinned Marissa!

Megs said...

Who knew Montana and Arkansas were so similar? It sounds like the main difference is the accents.

JustLinda said...

I sent your blog link to my therapist. I think there might still be time.




OK, I don't have a therapist. Maybe the two of us ought to go in and try to find a group rate?

Willy said...

is there an Urban Montana?
love my shark bear shirt. thanks!

sarah said...

that dog monster is going to haunt my dreams tonight. thanks. 'cause i was totally getting bored of those happy, there's-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel dreams i was having.

Sarah said...

This is the part where your mother should comment.

I'll do her part.

"Honey, wouldn't you like to come home to Idaho and live in a nice apartment and come home for Sunday dinner? I'm making your favorite."

juliaelise said...

You forgot something for number 1. The mountain-men may be missing fingers. This does not mean that they are the dangerous mountain men. Mountain men lose fingers all the time. I think it is a sport. Or logging.

Delicia said...

Freaking awesome.

Buzz said...

Brilliant as usual. I'm enjoying my Shark Bear sweatshirt but now I'm craving a Bear/Refrigerator box one. Perhaps that would be too disturbing for me at a primal level (my greatest joy as a child was getting a hold of these boxes to play in and somehow those memories have changed - I realize I was playing Russian roulette and didn't even know it).

Mommy Melee said...

This is my new favorite thing on the entire fucking Internet.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

I lovs the coach. Me want to buy one.

Harini said...

Hahahaha..That vintage thing looks so cool. Only if i had guns :P.

Coopie said...

Oh my dear, darling Allie....I heart thee to infinity!!!!!

I have to admit, I wasn't sure how I could love the rest of your posts as much as the genius of Spaghatta Nadle....BUT...I see now that I should NEVER doubt thee ever again!!!

And I SHANT! I SHANT, I SAY!!!!

I now realize that everything you put out is PURE INTERNET GOLD. EVERYTHING!!!!

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Mel said...

Driving in rural Montana sounds a lot like driving in the western suburbs of Sydney.

Oh and you're hilarious, btw. You made me laugh out loud on the train, and now all the cute boys on the Inner West line think I'm a crazy person. That's not going to help when I try and follow them home.

You and my iPhone are equal parts to blame for me never getting a date again.

Not Hannah said...

Yeah, I'm gonna third the "rural Georgia/Montana" thing. Most of my neighbors are Rose. Except for the ones with the dog-monsters.

the young benito said...

I live in a village in England
(the country) and thought this just pandered to every poor, white American, "redneck" stereotype going. Thank you. Before I thought I was prejudiced, now I know I'm right...

Chelle said...

I grew up in Northern Alberta, Canada. Which is north of Montana. The town I was in being 15 hours north of the Montana border. Not only were there hillbillies... but there are hillbillies who can't leave their houses for 8 months of the year due to cold. I was RAISED by these people.

RAISED.

Anonymous said...

I totally want a bear/refrigerator box t-shirt!

publicknitting said...

Shockingly, living in rural Montana is a lot like being in rural Georgia and North Caroline without the refrigerator box. More like a heat lamp. Being duct taped to a heat lamp with a bear chained around the stem. And don't get me started about the mountain people. Have you ever seen Deliverance? It was based on real people out here.

Raggedy Sarah said...

Wow, suddenly my camping trip to Montana a few summers a go makes a lot more sense.

Malou said...

HAHAHAHA.
That's hilarious.
Love, Malou.

Moooooog35 said...

Shit like this is why I stick to going to the mall.

But fuck the Build-a-Bear store.

No one ever leaves.

Curiosity said...

Hee hee...hee hee hee...hee - HA! I am totally coming back here.

Alice said...

sooo... you're saying the best way to survive rural montana is to avoid rural montana? i can do that. :-)

tee said...

You should illustrate a children's book. I'd totes by it. Also, cows freak me the eff out.

--T

Ed said...

Did Mooooog just say he wanted to buttfuck a Build-A-Bear store?

Nasty.

And yet, I'm slightly aroused.

Elizabeth Kaylene said...

Those same crazed drivers are also in Connecticut! They even give you the same, "What the fuck are you doing? I'M the best driver in the world" look as they try to kill you. One day, I am going to buy a monster truck and I'm going to run them over while looking at them with the same look: "What? I'm just driving!"

Assertive Wit said...

I'm never coming to Montana hahahahhaha

kathcom said...

Damn! I am NEVER going to Montana!

Elly Lou said...

How did that sweet little Hannah girl (you know the one that does all the singing) survive all that wilderness out there. I would have totally laid money on that cow/bull/zombie/kirstie alley monster thing.

Andraea Lynne said...

Even if I hadn't been to Montana before, I'd drive the 7 hours south of where I am just to see everything you've mentioned. It sounds highly entertaining :)

Brutalism said...

Egad. I'm familiar with the "sneak-save", but in the form of what looks like an innocent birthday greeting from my step-grandmother yet contains religious pamphlets. I can tell what infractions she thinks I'm guilty of each year based on the subject matter.

You do make rural Montana enticing...

Crystal said...

lol. Cute blog. :) Sounds exciting about Montana...better than KY.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Still maintaining that Montana is a lot like Narnia minus the rednecks and Rose. And vintage couches.

Coopie said...

LMAO AT ED!!!!

Coopie said...

p.s. I think the possibly ok mountain man may be a relative of mine....if his hair were darker that would totally be my first cousin :-S (i'm actually not even lying/exaggerating)

HOLD ME, I'M SCARED!!!!!!

I'm not a hick! I'm NOT a hick! I'm not a HICK!!!!!

I'M A FUCKIN ROCKER CHICK!!!!! SUCK IT, FARMER BOB!

whew...there....I feel slightly better now.....I need some water and to lie down....

maggly1234 said...

Whoa that sounds like rural Alaska....Only there's more bears
(I've been chased by one), more crazy mountain men that don't leave their house unless they need more meth/rolaids (been chased by one of those too.)

Alyssa said...

Ha growing up in Missoula this had so much relevance for me!

Kate said...

I keep cartons of Old Golds in my trunk just in case I have to barter for shit around here in SD. It works.

Qoddess said...

You've been quoted (again)
http://qoddessquotesblogs.blogspot.com/

milesaway said...

lol I'm from Montana too

Anonymous said...

Umm, you forgot the hoards of swarming mosquitos from May through September.

Taryn said...

I think we may live in the same town. We should hang out.

Emma!! said...

This could also work for my hometown in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, except that instead of insane bears, we have insane deer. Yep, I said it. I didn't stutter. Those bitches will come at you with razor sharp hooves and teeth of steel and eat your eyeballs right out of your head if you look at them wrong.

MissR said...

I think I can see your house from here. Is it behind the rusting tractor parked on our back lot?

This is the best thing I've read in a long, long time. Thank you.

-A Rural Montanan

helena.mccalman said...

ima go out on a limb here and say that Rural monstana may be a little like rural Australia (my home) except no bear fighting skills, however, you need kangaroo fighting skills. oh, and out here in dueling banjo's country there isn't much traffic (you could play chicken on main street no worries) so i think that we're the traffic hazard when we travel to other places. the character description was very accurate!

chris said...

All rules also apply in all parts of Georgia not named Atlanta.

Trina said...

Growing up in Rural Montana was awesome! You left out the other awesome parts like being towed behind a truck on your sled! And coyotes! And shooting said coyotes because they'll eat deer, the deer you're gonna shoot!
But, seriously, 2-lane highways can go screw themselves. I hated driving and then WOAH A CAR WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?!

Lydia said...

I guess rural vermont is also like Montana. I've been attacked by a dog-monster, and i'm not even 15 yet. I've also been lured into a refridgerator box. There was a bear in there. I hauled ass out of there.