Mountain Time

It’s true that life moves much slower in the country.

Most of the time, this is a good thing, but sometimes it can be well, downright annoying, like when you need a product or service.

Most rural companies provide it on what we like to call here, “Mountain Time.”

We first noticed this before we moved here. We had not yet had our well dug and we were still buying from the waterman.

If any of you have had a water tank, it is sometimes hard to judge just when you might need it again.

Of course, you don’t want to have it come in too early or you pay for a full load when you’re only receiving half of a tank. As well, we didn’t like the idea of a huge tanker making extra trips, increasing our footprint on our beautiful environment.

It was sometimes especially difficult to judge when we were only here part time and one weekend, we realized we would need it on a Sunday.

I learned promptly that most small businesses do not conduct business on Sunday, water needed or not.

Since that time, our patience has been tried with builders.

I know some fellow journalists thought I had went stark raving mad during a press trip in 2008.

My patience had finally reached its limit when construction on The Belle Writer’s Studio had ground to a halt and was running some 45 days behind schedule because the dry wall guy had not shown up.

Dale took off work to meet him while I was on the trip. Of course, the guy didn’t show again.

While on a cell phone on a bus full of colleagues in the Smoky Mountains, I finally threatened the general contractor with hiring the job finished ourselves (I wanted to be in the studio by winter) if the dry wall wasn’t completed by the time I returned to Our Little House.

Retailers are the same. Even when they have a potential for sales and to make money, they drag their feet. It once took about a year for a thrift store owner to find printer’s blocks in his shed he had purchased when the town newspaper closed (I wanted them for my vintage printers drawer in the studio) and it’s taken 4 months and counting for a local jewelry store owner to bead two bracelets for me I ordered at a spring craft show (she promises they will be done next week).

Of course, I’m still waiting for the local antique storeowner to locate his mother’s Revere Ware.

All on Mountain Time.

Do you find goods and services are slow in coming in rural communities?

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30 Responses

  1. Here, we run on Hawaii time. Relax!

  2. Kim says:

    Funny. I live in the same mountains as Kerri, but in a small town of 12,000, and my experience is just the opposite… living in Orlando, we had enormous lines and/or waits for everything from getting our tags renewed for our vehicles to getting a box shipped at the post office. Plumbers took a week to arrive, dentists’ first available appointments were six months away, and in general most things were impersonal, inconvenient, and difficult.

    Here, I can call about a stopped up pipe and have someone here by the end of the day. The dryer repairman was at the door within 24 hours. Our DMV rarely has more than ten minutes’ wait (or you can just renew by mail or online; that is BRILLIANT); I had a root canal four days after calling to make the appointment; and most importantly, everyone takes a little extra time to chat and make each other feel like they’re dealing with neighbors rather than indifferent strangers, whether we know each other or not.

    The difference in our experiences in the same geographic area is interesting, isn’t it?

    • Kerri says:

      It is, Kim, and possibly because we live outside of town. The locals still consider this “way out there” and the newer people, well… we might as well live at the end of the earth. 🙂 I will agree, that the dentists and doctors seem friendlier and take more time with each person. Our dentist remembers things we’ve told him, we’ve forgotten we told him.

  3. That would drive me crazy too–I’m a clock watcher.

  4. Sheryl says:

    That would drive me crazy. I think to some extent (at least here, in the northeast), people tend to move a bit more quickly, but still are not there when you want them to be. One exception, though: when they want to get paid, they show up in a hurry!

  5. Merr says:

    OMG! This is a great collection of comments spurred by your post. Kerri! Mountains time, Island time, Beach time…there are certain universalities in life regardless of what we call them.

  6. I suppose since we live just 20 minutes (about 10 miles down the canyon) from a fairly large suburb that we don’t see quite this much lag. BUT, friends and some service providers do act like we moved to Siberia or something … like they need to pack a lunch to drive up here.

  7. I think contractors are like that no matter where you live. My mother says she could stand at the end of the driveway waving a stack of hundreds and still wouldn’t be able to get anyone to come do work at her house.

  8. Heather L. says:

    Sounds kind of like “island” time. My son-in-law observes that and is always at least one hour late to an event. I once had my college transcript evaluated by a local community college (far from rural) and it took exactly a year and the Geek Squad took 6 months to recover info from one of my crashed computers. I don’t think it’s always indicative of the country dwellers.

  9. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri, you should try living in Greece… debt default aside the national sayings are: Siga siga (slowly, slowly) and :Ti na kanoume? (What can we do?) The last said with a shrug towards the heavens when you’re frothing at the mouth and pulling out your hair at some delay. Needless to say I’ve had to really re-evaluate my sense of time here! (And learn to do most stuff ourselves).

    • Kerri says:

      I swear, Vida, you must read my mind. When I start wondering about you and how you are, you post! Frothing at the mouth!? 🙂 Been there. You’re right though, it’s just best, if you can, to do it yourself.

      • Vida says:

        Kerri, I read all your posts and lots of them resonate with me. Sometimes I read a post and think I’ll post a comment later and never get down to it… I do enjoy keeping up with this little community of like minded people, though!

        • Kerri says:

          Thanks, Vida. I know you’re here. I just wonder about you when I don’t “hear” from you for awhile! 🙂 My like minded, animal loving sister from Greece!

  10. When my sister in law moved here from Holland, one of the things she most had trouble with was the pace of American city life. People in the Netherlands get around mainly by bicycle. Stores, even large retail establishments, routinely close for lunch, sometimes up to two hours even if the sign says they’ll be back in an hour. If your dry cleaning was supposed to be ready by Wednesday, you should call before going to pick it up because they might have gotten busy and what’s the rush anyway? Nobody seems to get too upset about these delays and the result is a slower overall rhythm to life. I guess whether or not that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on whether or not you really, really needed that dry cleaning by Wednesday!

  11. Olivia says:

    Same here: patience is the keyword. Even our mail delivery is slow – we can wait weeks for something to arrive in the mail. Like Becky mentioned, bills are also slow – someone will come and clean our chimney, for example, but won’t drop around for payment for months and months, sometimes never…………but then, it’s a small island and everyone knows who you are and where you live…………

  12. mat says:

    I’ve never spent a lot of time outside of the Northeast, however I’ve definitely experienced “Southern Time”, during a business trip to Georgia.
    Being Yanks, my coworker and I showed up to our job promptly at 7AM. The driver was already there with the equipment we needed to install, but I don’t think the project manager showed up for at least another hour. And it was at least another hour after that before the driver’s helper made an appearance. By then, we were halfway done. We would have been further along, but it took time to get the site contractor’s men to take doors off hinges (we would have done it ourselves, but that never goes over well).
    On the flipside, we finished by lunchtime and were then really able to relax, enjoy the fantastic food, and the more natural pace of life. It was like a paid vacation with 5 hours of work thrown on top.

  13. Ani Lacy says:

    Yes. I grew up in a very small town and I still have trouble keeping up with ‘city folk.’ When you live closer to nature things seem less pressing because you’re constantly reminded by the changing of the seasons that the time for everything comes around again. Give it a few years and your city friends may get a little exasperated with you! ;D

  14. Becky says:

    Yes, we have the same issues at the beach.. of course we call it “Beach TIME” Our friend had to have some sewer work done and the guy fix the problem but need a part and would be “back tomorrow” that is now three years ago (2 days worth of work and still no bill either).. lol So our friends went and got the part and rehooked it back up.. its never been inspected either.. And the plumber had all the permits.. Our town rolls up no later than 6 or 8PM (excpet for Docs the local tavern) which is fine with me..and it takes forever to get through the grocery line at the store cause everyone has to tell their weeks worth of stories in one shot. But I am kinda liking the whole idea..of taking it slower. Thats why I move there in the first place.

    • Kerri says:

      Me too, Becky. As I wrote, most of the times it is a good thing. I try to live by the motto “everything in good time,” which I’ve really had to keep repeating since moving here. 🙂