In my previous blog post titled “Socializing In Dickinson, North Dakota”, I explained that there were a lot more people going to Patterson Lake Beach, bars, restaurants, parties, events, and concerts in Dickinson back during the Oil Boom in 2007 through 2014, and for a short time after the Oil Boom ended.
I explained that once approximately 5,000 out of state workers returned to the states where they came from, Patterson Lake Beach and bars in Dickinson, went from having 200 people at one time, to having only 5 people at one time. After the Oil Boom was over, and so many out of state workers left, Dickinson quieted down, calmed down, and it appears that the local people in Dickinson prefer to stay home.
In this blog post, I want to explain why it is that the local people in Dickinson prefer to stay home. The main reasons have to do with several different kinds of fear, mistrust, suspicion, and money. These fears, mistrust, and suspicion are present in many local people whether they are poor, lower middle class, middle class, or wealthy.
Up until this most recent oil boom in 2007, Dickinson was very controlled. It was controlled by wealthy or influential people, who decided who got hired, who got fired, who got promoted, who got a car loan, who got a home loan, and so forth. Wealthy people, influential people, and employers had a lot of power, because there were not many places to work. If a person “got out of line”, they risked never being able to get a promotion, losing their job, or being “blacklisted” from being hired elsewhere.
Many people in Dickinson, whether they were poor, lower middle class, or middle class, feared going out in Dickinson, because they ran the risk of letting their guard down, enjoying themselves, and being “reported” by someone, or being “observed” by someone higher up than them, and later facing unwanted and unintended consequences.
A corollary of this was, poor people, lower middle class, and middle class people, feared going out in Dickinson either alone, or with their family, and unknowingly entering a place where a supervisor, company owner, or wealthy person was drunk, and being verbally abused or insulted in an embarrassing way, and being unable to defend themselves because of the fear of themselves or their family member losing their job, being evicted, or their home being foreclosed on.
Something that I have written about before, is that there was so little opportunity to get ahead in Dickinson, that one way that people in Dickinson could feel like they were getting ahead, was when other people failed. So, unfortunately, it became common in Dickinson for people to cause or assist other people to fail. One way to assist other people to fail was to withhold help from others, which is easier to do if you do not talk to, or socialize with other people.
Because it was so common for people in Dickinson to cause or assist other people to fail, undermining was a very common practice. In order to not be undermined, people in Dickinson became very tight-lipped about their affairs and everything that they did, and one way to do this was to not talk to or socialize with other people, lest they find out something about them, and use it against them.
There are not very many middle class people or wealthy people in Dickinson. In the past, these middle class or wealthy people might have been able to socialize at the Elks Lodge, but the Elks Lodge in Dickinson now is almost extinct. At the Elks Lodge, middle class or wealthy people could have discussed what college their children were going to, their vacation to foreign country, or their vacation home in a different state, but not anymore.
In Dickinson, because there are so few middle class or wealthy people, it is very hard for these people to go out in public, to places like a bar, restaurant, party, event, or concert, lest they let their guard down, and accidentally start talking about their home in Arizona in front of other people, or be overheard by other people.
In summary, the fear of suffering consequences at work; the fear of coming into conflict with a supervisor, employer or wealthy person; the fear of socializing with people who may then later undermine them; the desire to not make friends with others who may later want help; the desire to not share personal information with others; these fears, mistrust, suspicion, and disparity in wealth, make local people in Dickinson not want to socialize or go out in public, and prefer to stay home.
Again, this is something that I do not think Odyssey Theaters or the City of Dickinson understand when they are trying to build a cinema complex and a town square downtown. The local people in Dickinson, do not want to socialize, they would rather stay home. Local people in Dickinson are mistrustful, suspicious, wary, and uncomfortable with local people, and especially strangers from out of town. A cinema complex or a town square are not places they would want to go or enjoy, these are places that local people would try to avoid.