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Author Topic: "1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)  (Read 7059 times)

Hank

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Some people really do have a fear of open spaces. It is called Agoraphobia. The stories below reflect what some real people really experience.  No doubt it affects which state some Porcupines will choose. I don't blame them if they at least face up to and acknowledge such fear. They often can not really be responsible for such a deep, gut-level fear which determines their decisions on where to live and where to travel.

If they pick a "wide open spaces" state, they may most likely live in the most populous, built up city that state has. Or they may choose to live in a heavily forested state where the "open spaces" are screened off from view. Or a state which offers them the comfort of having neighbors down the lane if not next door.

"1000 Miles from Nowhere"
Quote
he was the head of a clinic in Boston that specialized in helping burned-out executives find new meaning in life. I nodded as he droned on about unhappy rich people on the East Coast. As he talked, he risked peeks at the desolate, empty countryside. Finally he told me that he suffered from an intense fear of open spaces and was taking the train instead of flying. In this way, he hoped, he would heal his affliction through overexposure to the stimulus.

"This Land Frightens Me"
Quote
"When they reach Dakota, Bridget sees the wide expanse of land lying before her and she feels a terrible dread. "She says "This land frightens me, Per, but it's where we are and we'll have to find some way to live with it." "
« Last Edit: June 24, 2003, 04:36:25 pm by Hank »
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There's A race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
http://www.internal.org/view_poem.phtml?poemID=295

onyx_goddess

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"100 Miles to Nowhere" (song states made fright on people)
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2003, 04:27:12 pm »

I lived in Hawaii for 20 years, and I've heard so many "mainlanders" tell me how they could never live there because they'd feel trapped.  It's true, you are trapped.  You can't just pack up your car and drive off to visit the relatives.  You have to cough up thousands for a simple family vacation (ironic to some, I know).  However, on the other hand, it's pretty dang silly to worry about being trapped -- you're trapped in Hawaii.

Anyway, I'm actually trying to get to a point here.  If you are of the half-empty type, then you're going to complain about wherever you move.  "NH is too cold, too far away from family, people there are so different than us..", is what I keep hearing from people I talk to.  On the other hand, I moved from Hawaii to Missouri so my family could have more opportunities, and I have never once regretted it.  Missouri is ridiculously crappy when you compare scenery and weather to Hawaii.  But I earn more, and I own a house.

So, freedom lovers - don't stress too much about the superficialities - we can be happy anywhere that we have a chance at freedom!
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Happiness is fleeting
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Karl

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2003, 05:19:36 pm »

Hank,

Your suggestion that supporters of New Hampshire as the free state have some kind of mental illness is sickening.  Various NH proponents have given dozens of reasons they support NH, none of which hint at the reason you suggest.  They've overwhelmingly stated that they would move to Wyoming if it were chosen.  Many will make Wyoming their 2nd, 3rd or 4th choices.  Instead, you have chosen to ignore those reasons, and regularly conjour up balloney like this.

I've seen absolutely no evidence of "Agoraphobia" in this forum or among any free staters I've met.  This is purely a wild and desperate invention on your part.
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freedomroad

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2003, 05:37:42 pm »

Hank,

Your suggestion that supporters of New Hampshire as the free state have some kind of mental illness is sickening.  

It seemed to me that he was saying a few of them might have it or more likely, just a love for cities.


Quote
 They've overwhelmingly stated that they would move to Wyoming if it were chosen.  Many will make Wyoming their 2nd, 3rd or 4th choices.  Instead, you have chosen to ignore those reasons, and regularly conjour up balloney like this.

South Dakota is his favorite state and this really applies more to that state.  Cheyenne functions like a big city and is near many larger cities.  SD is kind of, out there by itself.

Even Cheyenne is a nice city.  Check it out for yourself,
http://members.aol.com/wyomingliberty/cheyenne.html

Quote
I've seen absolutely no evidence of "Agoraphobia" in this forum or among any free staters I've met.  This is purely a wild and desperate invention on your part.

Nor do I.  On the other hand, I have never heard of it and was not looking for it.

Karl, maybe you are taking this too personal.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2003, 10:50:57 pm by FreedomRoad »
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shere

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2003, 05:39:46 pm »

Personally, Karl, I apparently didn't make the same inference as you did to Hank's posting.

I saw it not as a "suggestion that supporters of New Hampshire as the free state have some kind of mental illness", but as realistic observation.

Many have spent their whole lives within 15 minutes of what they view as "necessary services" - an emergency room, for example... just in case.  Some people might fear the remotness of a place as Wyoming.  

I was on a submarine when one person succumbed to claustrophobia.  Up until then he'd had no clue that he would be affected so.  It happens.

Hank also said "some porcupines"... I infered no generalization aimed at those in NH.

With all due respect, IMHO, I think that you overreacted just a bit.
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Hank

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2003, 06:58:05 pm »

Onyx_goddess, FreedomRoad, and Shere

Thank you for the clarifications and your observations from experience.

Karl,
I was referring to that fraction who may choose populous cities and/OR populous states because they have some bit of agoraphobia or just a need to be immersed among lots of other people.  In other words, they "need" to be in a large city.

I had in mind every big city in each of the states (Boise, Anchorage, Billings, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Cheyenne, Wilmington, Burlington, Manchester, and Portland. See, I didn't leave any state out!).
I had in mind both of the more urban states -- New Hampshire and Delaware.  It is a fact some Porcupines are really promoting the big cities and states with big cities or near big cities. It is a fact some here have not had good things to say about "wide open spaces" or "big empty square states" or "desolate" areas (Eddie Bradford said that about northern New Hampshire).

Look, on the other thread where this started, I wrote:
Quote
I'm trying to understand why some people seem to fear the "wide open spaces".  Could it be an underlying reason they are afraid to voice here?  

I've the same sort of fear in cities with hoards of people and concrete canyons. Others have that same fear. We gravitate to "wide open spaces".  We could tell stories about being afraid in cities. Some may "think they are funny". To someone with such a fear it is anything but funny.
To the above I add an observation about claustrophobia. To anyone who really has experienced it, "panic" may be an understatement.  Please try to understand how someone with a version of that would feel in a concrete canyon with thousands of people around and cars and noise.  I'd bet many city people may not fathom why someone would be deep down gut level trapped-in-a-sleeping-bag scared (that is another of those experiences).

Many wide open space country people may not understand why city people are afraid of the wide open high prairie. Why be afraid of fields of grass or grain (and a few lone trees and maybe a couple farm buildings) to the horizon and beyond?

Can somebody here help us understand?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2003, 07:10:54 pm by Hank »
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There's A race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
http://www.internal.org/view_poem.phtml?poemID=295

shere

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2003, 09:50:33 pm »

I believe that agoraphobia stems from a psycological fear of exposure.  It is easy to blend into a crowd and open spaces make one noticable but contrast.  One form of paranoia.

Be advised that I've NO training, this is simply an opinion.
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Wisdom begins with the intelligence to recognize one's own ignorance.
Every political issue is a battle between those who seek their own liberty and those who seek to restrict the liberty of others.

Karl

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2003, 09:23:17 am »

Many wide open space country people may not understand why city people are afraid of the wide open high prairie. Why be afraid of fields of grass or grain (and a few lone trees and maybe a couple farm buildings) to the horizon and beyond

I don't think this is true for the vast majority of city people.  People from the city generally love going out to the country; they love seeing wide open prarie.  The phenomenon you describe is probably not a phobia; most people prefer the kinds of environment they grew up with.  If you grew up in a prarie, then a prarie seems like home, you're comfortable there.  Similarly, if you grew up in a city, you are accustomed to being around people and places, and you're comfortable there.

The important thing to remember as it relates to the chosen state is that all the candidate states, have both cities and natural space.  In the east and in ID and much of MT, you might have to create your own prarie by clearcutting trees if that's your desire (I think you can get about $1000(?) an acre for them).

In NH this weekend I witnessed breathtaking open views and many areas clearcut for pasture, although most of it was densly forested.  The cities were far from being concrete canyons.  Even in downtown Manchester, there were only a few buildings over 5 stories high; I saw none in Nashua or Concord.  Believe me, I know concrete canyons, as there are many of them in downtown DC; many city people do not like them either.  Also, many people who live in cities would prefer to live in the country, but live in cities because of their jobs.  Others, like me, are urbanists, who love cities, not because we fear open spaces, but because we value the dynamic community and convenient access to jobs and other daily activities present in them.
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MajesticLeo

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2003, 12:03:33 pm »

Hank, While Agoraphobia is certainly a real problem with some people, I have never read of it taking the form you describe.  People with true agoraphobia will not come out of their house.  It is not a fear of "Wide Open Spaces", but a fear of leaving their own small controlled environment.  They are unable to leave their home to go to the store down the street, let alone get on a train and travel amongst strange people and in a strange environment.  While you might be able to stretch the definition to include what you describe as an extremely mild form, it would not be clinically significant as they would still be able to function in society.  

The reason for such "fears" or concerns as you express are more likely social in origin as was stated before.  Feeling "hemmed in" in the city is probably engendered because the person is used to seeing to the horizon and can no longer do so or from seeing too many reports of violent crime and gangs in the cities and is nervous from that.  By the same token, those used to having many people around quite often feel uncomfortable when they are given more space than they are used to having.  The loss of constant stimulation from others creates concern because they are not used to relying on themselves so much.  At least that is my theory, although this is not my major area of study.
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mtPete

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2003, 09:56:17 pm »

All of the Northern FS candidates have both the "open spaces" as well as larger cities which would be more comforting (in amenities and population) to those who may not like feeling exposed. If you every visit around any of the FS candidates you will most likely be surprised by their variety.

From my expirience in Rapid City, SD & Bilings, MT most people from your steriotipical larger areas out east adapt very well here because it has most of the amenaties they are used to and is quite beautiful (which seems to matter a lot to them, I think mostly because the area contrasts their expectations of SD/MT) I am sure the same holds true of other western candidate states. IOW, don't let your setiotypes of a state (about how open, rural, uncitified, whatever) get in the way untill you've had a chance to visit and expirience it first hand.

There are also many stories of people in MT from large cities who visit one horse towns and fall in love with life there and never leave.
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Mickey

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2003, 10:29:01 pm »

Ever hear of claustraphobia? ::)
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jenlee

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2003, 10:58:46 pm »

I got the opposite one. Real big buildings, crushing amounts of people, smog so thick you can see it, cars that would run you over, etc.  I love wide open spaces. So much to see in those.  ;D
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Hank

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2003, 08:07:02 pm »

I certainly can identify with this fellow's experience. I quote it below because I really don't have any confidence that the links after the quote will find this article again.
I'd hope that none of big cities in the candidate states are even a tenth this bad. Wilmington maybe?
Quote
1/22/02

I had a freak-out in New York last weekend.

It's been quite a while since I've experienced one of those - a genuine, synapse-collapsing meltdown. I was meant to have been visiting a friend, with whom I've recently reconnected after seven years. Everything was set - on my way to Maryland, I would stop in for a few days, staying at her apartment on First Avenue. I had decent directions (given to me by a nifty individual who doubles as a Presbyterian minister and a sex therapist), I had a plan, and I thought I had control over my biggest fear.

You see, the only thing in the world I'm really afraid of is other people. I'm not scared to fly, I'm just frightened of the other people on the plane. Likewise, I have no fear of driving, but I'm terrified of the other people on the road. This phobia has mutated over time to provide me with a pathological fear of cities. I just hate them. I especially hate driving in them - so many other drivers, all with divergent destinations, and none of them give two rat's shits whether you make it to yours alive.

Of all the cities I've driven through, New York City is the worst. At any given time, there are millions of people trying to navigate roads that are only wide enough to accommodate two horse-driven carriages. The streets themselves seem to harbor a dislike of drivers, particularly those unfamiliar with the city. They appear to twist in upon themselves, providing only one-way outlets going the opposite way one wishes to proceed. It's impossible to retrace your steps in New York, as I discovered on Saturday.

One thing you need to understand about me for this story to make sense - I don't have a cell phone. I hate those things, too. I find them inherently annoying whenever I encounter them, and consider them only useful in emergency situations. Despite my tendency to find myself in emergency situations in which a cell phone could be extremely useful, I haven't broken down and bought one yet, and I'm not sure I ever will. So don't email me asking why I didn't just call someone. That's why.

So, okay, I arrive in New York at about 3:30 in the afternoon, only about three and a half hours later than I intended in the first place. (Late night, oversleeping, late start in the morning, etc.) My first destination is the Triboro Bridge, a teeming disaster area of semi-mobile vehicles, crammed into five tiny lanes. I entered, by necessity, on the left side of the bridge, and had to somehow maneuver my way through three lanes of backed-up traffic to get to the right lane, which turned into my exit in roughly a quarter-mile. To top that off, everyone else on the bridge seemingly needed to get over into whatever lane I was inhabiting at the time as well, and most of them just turned towards my vehicle without a second thought.

I think I almost died four times.

Still and all, I got over the bridge and onto FDR Drive. My directions then specified that I was to look for an exit sign with no number or street name - one just marked "Exit." That's the kind of city New York is. Needless to say, about an hour later, I was completely lost, with no idea of how I'd managed to get where I was, or how to get back. (See previous comments re: retracing one's steps.) Depressingly, there appeared no place to park, either - all the spaces were taken, sometimes twice, and traffic wouldn't have allowed it anyway. Plus, given my fear of other people, I wasn't about to leave my car anywhere unattended.

At one point, I asked a friendly police officer (who was risking his life directing traffic) how to get to First Avenue. He told me to "take a left on Centre Street and then a right on HOW-ston." At least, that's how it sounded to me, so I asked him to repeat that last street name, and he said it again: "HOW-ston." When I asked him to spell it, he looked at me as if I had just crawled up from the evolutionary muck. "It's spelled 'Houston,'" he grunted. "Well then," I thought, "why in fuck's name didn't you just SAY 'Houston' in the first place." I didn't say that, however.

No, I was just about in the throes of my freak-out, which came on full force when I took that right onto HOW-ston and found that it didn't quite lead me where I wanted to go. The next hour or so is a blur of sharp turns, near-misses and hyperventilation, and when I stumbled upon the way out - blessed Route 495, which must lead to Route 95 - I jumped at it. I even pulled into a gas station and asked the fine gentleman behind the counter which 495 (east or west) would get me back to Route 95.

"East," he said.

"Right-o," I replied.

Half an hour later, I was screaming at my mental picture of that fine gentleman, calling him a filthy cocksucking liar. I kept thinking that the road would loop around, perhaps, or connect in some way south of the city, but no. I ended up pulling off into another gas station, and meeting the nicest New Yorker ever, who gave me a map and directed me to the Cross Island Expressway, which hooks up with 95 after the Verrazzano Bridge. I thanked him and hurried back, thinking I might give the city another shot.

Of course, the Expressway was backed up for miles and miles, so I didn't reach 95 until 8:30 p.m. The decision to just go south to Maryland was a pretty easy one - I really couldn't spend another minute in that city. By the time I hit the highway, I was a twittering, shaking, sweaty mess. I know I'm going to have to get over this at some point, but my fear of cities is so great that I can barely breathe when I'm in one. I don't think I'm afraid of other people individually so much as in nameless, faceless groups - which extends to religions and political organizations as well. They scare the shit out of me.

Naturally, my friend was frightened out of her gourd that I might have died along the way, and I didn't catch up with her until about 11 p.m. If the fear and anger in her voice wasn't enough convince me that I need a cell phone, I don't think anything will be. Over the last few days, I have found myself glancing with interest at Verizon Wireless stores as I walk past, so we shall see.

As a hopeful epilogue to this stupid little tale, however, I made my first tentative drives into Baltimore this week, and they didn't go as badly as I expected. Baltimore is like a slightly larger Portland, Maine, in that people seem to all be going the same direction most of the time. Plus, it has the biggest freaking Barnes and Noble I have ever seen, and I'm really looking forward to driving back in and checking it out.

I'm right now in the midst of trying to find a job, which is why this column contains nothing of substance. Plus, this week saw a complete absence of noteworthy new music, which will hopefully be rectified by next week, when Jeff Tweedy's Loose Fur project hits, as well as Billy Corgan's debut with his new band, Zwan. In the meantime, drive safe, and try to think about the other drivers now and again. Especially if you live in a big city.

See you in line Tuesday morning.
http://tm3am.com/redirect.htm
http://tm3am.com/index_content_archive.htm
http://tm3am.com/article_030122.htm
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There's A race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
http://www.internal.org/view_poem.phtml?poemID=295

Hank

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2003, 08:22:09 pm »

MajesticLeo, just because you say
Quote
Hank, While Agoraphobia is certainly a real problem with some people, I have never read of it taking the form you describe.
this does not mean there are not people who fear open spaces such as the endless high prairie.  I've known people who really are afraid of such open spaces. Maybe shere is correct, maybe it is "exposure". maybe it is fear of being alone.  In any case, it is real or at least as real as perception can be.

How many city people do you know who are really comfortable sitting on the edge of forever? Could they sit there for hours and just contemplate the vastness? Or do they start to become fearful of what is out there or what is not out there?

Me, I'm scared in a crowded city street.  Oh sure, I can cope for a while, just like crowd-addicts can cope for a while getting off the bus in some whistle stop place in the middle of nowhere.  But you won't find them standing at the corner of a parking lot staring into the empty distance.
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There's A race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
http://www.internal.org/view_poem.phtml?poemID=295

StevenN

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Re:"1000 Miles from Nowhere" (some states may frighten some people)
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2003, 08:40:41 pm »

OK Hank; you have a understandable fear of cities. And maybe there are some people who have a "fear" of not having someone else around.

I just don't see why this is an issue for selecting a state ???. Apparently, you should not be living in an urban area if you are truly fearful. But all of the candidate states would allow you to live on large tracts of land away from city life: northern NH, southern DE, etc. In the same way most candidate states offer some sort of urban living. If NH is selected, you could move up near the Canadian border and not have anyone anywhere near you! I noticed you used the term "urban state". I don't think any of the ten - even DE - could be characterized as an urban state. That's what frustrates me over the whole country mouse/city mouse arguing: all states offer both urban and rural living.
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