Last night, I sat at the log cabin, the nursery's booth at the fair, from five until about ten. It was steamy hot in there.

The fair turns me into a recluse. I would rather stay home. I sometimes wonder why. I think I have figured it out. You run into people you haven't seen for years and years--and that isn't always pleasant.

For instance, a conversation last night, with somebody I knew from high school: After all the greetings were over with, the inevitable, "so, what are you doing now?"

This person had a respectable professional job. But when it came time to turn the tables on me, she phrased her question as follows: "So, you just stayed around here, then?"

Yep, I said. I didn't try to explain. I run the nursery, I said, but that didn't make an impact. It was clear that she thought it was some sort of tragedy that somebody who showed so much promise in high school had "just stayed around here." I suspect if I had said I was a district sales manager for a syringe company in Anoka I would have gotten kudos galore. Nothing against district sales managers for syringe companies in Anoka--let me make that clear.

"Have you always just been around here?" was the next question.

Yep, I said. No use adding detail because that just turns it into an attempt to justify one's existence, an exercise which strips one of all dignity.

So, I think that is why I don't like going to the fair. Those of us "left behind" in the small town do not wish to be quizzed about why we are here, or what we are doing here. We do not feel we need to list off our career achievements. They sound pretty meager, anyway. Why bring it up?