Trying To Get By In Dickinson, North Dakota, Part II

In my very first post to this blog, I explained why I was writing this blog.  I said that I wanted to describe what it was like living in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I wanted people to have the truth.  If you have read at least several of my posts, you will probably have thought to yourself the following three things:  that I am pessimistic, that I am negative, and that I am exaggerating.  The last point, that I am exaggerating, no, you will find out sooner or later if you come here, that I am not exaggerating.  That I am pessimistic and negative, yes, but this is necessary for survival here.

As  far as people who have come to Dickinson, I have fared a little bit better than average.  I have been able to make enough money to pay my bills, to keep my home in a different state, to buy an additional vehicle, to buy more tools, clothes, guns, etcetera.  I have not been arrested and taken to jail, although I have come close about five times.  I have not gotten any women pregnant or gotten any venereal diseases.  I got injured badly enough to where I couldn’t work for five months, no workers compensation from North Dakota, but I have recovered about 90% after a couple of years.  Currently I have an O.K. place to live here in Dickinson.  So all in all, I feel like I am doing a little bit better than average.

Why, you might ask, do I think that I am doing a little bit better than average?  Well, I will tell you.  Among the people who I know that have come to Dickinson in the last seven years, who I will refer to as: “ES”, “MR”, and “SA”, these three people have been arrested and taken to jail in Dickinson a combined total of five times.  “ES” and “MR” have college degrees.  Among the people who I know who are from Dickinson, who I will refer to as: “MK”, “CL”, and “DS”, these three people have been arrested and taken to jail in Dickinson at least once each.  “MK” and “CL” have college degrees.

Some of you people who are reading this are thinking, “So what about being arrested.”  So what?  Do you know how much harder it is to get a job after you have been arrested for something?  You can either tell the truth, and not be hired, or you can lie, get hired, and then get fired when your background check gets completed.  I worked for the government once, and was questioned for five hours by an investigator during the background check, and I didn’t have any arrests, I never would have been hired if I had.  It sucks to get arrested, and have that on your record.  In the past six months in Dickinson, I have been stopped by the police three times, and been asked for my I.D. and current address.

Regarding being stopped by the police three times in the past six months, do you think this leads to a negative and pessimistic outlook?  Yes, it does.  The Dickinson Police are just hoping that you have an outstanding warrant, an expired driver’s license, expired insurance, that you have been drinking, that they can spot drugs, or a weapon in your vehicle.  That way, you can get arrested, be taken to jail, miss work, lose your job, be unable to make your car payments, your apartment/house payments, and lose everything you own.  You see, this is Dickinson, and everything was nice here, before you got here.  As far as Dickinson is concerned, you are a piece of shit, oil field trash, out of state worker.  As I wrote in a previous post, if you want to know what living in Dickinson will be like, you need to watch the movies “Deliverance”, “The Grapes of Wrath”, and “Planet of the Apes”.

To get back on track with the theme of this post, “Trying To Get By In Dickinson, North Dakota, Part II”, and to stick by my assertion that you need to be pessimistic and negative to survive in Dickinson, I will elaborate with an example.  Every  time I get in my vehicle, before I leave the driveway, I remind myself that this is Dickinson, and be prepared for some f___ed up shit.  This past Sunday morning I was driving to work at 7 a.m., I get to the intersection of State Avenue and 21st Street, which used to be a three way stop up until about a week ago, the north bound lane did not have to stop.  About a week ago they installed a stop sign for the north bound lane, and now all four stop signs have a sign that says “all way”.  I was going west, and came to a complete stop at the stop sign, here comes a new four door, four wheel drive, black dodge truck going north,  I said to myself, “No way am I going”, sure enough, the illiterate, ignorant piece of shit went through the intersection going 30 miles per hour.  The oil field truck behind it, came to a complete stop at the stop sign and waved for me to go ahead, the two guys in the front seat were laughing, they saw what happened.  About two months ago, the same thing happened to me at the intersection of 23rd Avenue and Fairway, Fairway has no stop sign, 23rd Ave has a stop sign that says “cross street does not stop”, but a lady on 23rd Avenue pulled out right in front of me.  I was ready, because I know how stupid, ignorant, and illiterate the people in Dickinson are, they can’t figure out “STOP” and “cross street does not stop”.  By the way, if I had gotten into an accident when that lady at the stop sign pulled out in front of me, do you know who would have gotten cited for the accident when the Dickinson Police arrived?  That’s right, me, because I am a worthless piece of shit out of state worker, and Dickinson was nice before I got here.

Before you get here, and once you are here, you need to plan on things going bad.  As I mentioned in a previous post, you need to be prepared for not getting served in a restaurant, (try looking at the restaurant review site “Yelp”, for restaurant reviews in Dickinson, and you will see that I am not making this up.)  If you need to make a bunch of copies on a Friday, and SBM closes at 5:00 p.m., don’t be surprised when both locations are closed at 4:00 p.m., (the only other place to get copies is the UPS store.)  If you need to park your car at the Dickinson airport, you may need four wheel drive to get out, (a fifty seater airline aircraft got stuck in the mud at the Dickinson airport in the spring of 2014.)  You may not be able to get a hotel room, or your hotel room reservations may not be found, (I know business owners and construction crews that have had to sleep in their vehicles at oil field locations and construction sites.)  If you get injured working or get laid off, expect not to get workers compensation or unemployment from North Dakota, ( Happened to me, happened to three people I know: “CL” ,”JK”, “CC”.)  Do not drink even one beer, and then drive in Dickinson, you will likely get a DUI.  If you have company provided housing, or any housing for that matter, you need to have a back up plan “B”, and a back up plan “C”, (I have seen many, many people, including me, get up shit creek in Dickinson when they lost their housing, it is not easy to find a place, and housing is extremely expensive.  For instance, if you get injured and can’t work, you will lose your company housing.)  I have met several people who came to Dickinson, could not find a place stay, ran out of money, and then begged the police to take them to jail so that they could have a warm place to stay and something to eat, there is no homeless shelter in Dickinson.

In summary, and I am not joking, I mean it, you have a better chance of surviving in Dickinson if you plan on things not going well.  If you come from the south like I do, don’t expect people to be nice to you, you can’t expect that, you had better expect them to be mean to you, because they will be.  Don’t you be friendly either, anything you say will be used against you, the people here are just looking for some specific things to dislike you for, they already don’t like you in general.  The longer you keep your mouth shut, the longer you can keep your job.  Even telling your landlord or neighbor where you are starting work, will result in your landlord or neighbor immediately telling their aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandkids, that, “They’re hiring at the college!, they’re hiring at the college!, get down there!”, even though you might have a master’s degree or doctorate, and their relatives didn’t graduate from high school.

What does that leave?  Well, you pretty much have to keep your mouth shut, do your job, keep a close eye on your coworkers trying to get you injured or in trouble, don’t go to bars, be extra careful driving, go straight home, and quickly come up with a back up plan “B”, and plan “C” for a different place to live, and a different place to work.

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