Judging another another man's freedom in comparison to mine isn't something I'm known to do. As soon as you point a finger at someone as not being free, there's always going to be another finger pointed at you.
That being said, I like Wyoming.
I like its grassy hills, its miles of undeveloped land. I like its sunsets, its cloud formations, and the sound of a barking prairie dog against the wind in your ears. But folks in Wyoming don't take kindly to outsiders, particular those who bring in a sense of freedom and the guts to cut against the grain.
Freedom isn't something you find much of in Wyoming. Instead the word is conformity. Dress alike, look alike, think alike, act alike. Gossip is the number one pastime in the Cowboy State, because hiding underneath every Stetson is story waiting to come out.
But it's not to say that Wyoming is conservative. It's just that people here are private, very private. Dare not ask or peek at what lies hidden behind the closet door, you may find yourself with a gun pointed to your head.
Sash and I were departing from our hotel in Gillette on our way south to Wheatland. And the only feasible way to get there is by State Highway 59, another testament to the fact that Wyoming wants everyone to conform.
But I was just fine by going that route. In fact, we had the wind at our backs, and sailing along at 80 MPH felt effortless. Just seeing the miles of open prairie made me feel free, in fact. It was like being in the middle of nowhere, where your demons can't reach you, where the ghosts of your past can't haunt you, and your conscience can finally take a break.
Sash walked in with her pink hair and the bushy fox tail hanging from her butt. Waitresses there did all they could to stop themselves from spitting in laughter. One by one, they walked around our table to look at her tail and pink hair. The fact that she rode a motorcycle was probably her saving grace, otherwise they probably couldn't figure out what hole she fit into.
But it was when they brought the cooking staff out to look at her as well, that really told us what Douglas, WY was all about.
Sash wasn't fazed. She had been through worse in her life. And this only proved that she was beyond the societal pressure to conform. I mean, we had seen it all from coast to coast, one state and city after another. When you can pass through so many different perspectives, and see how each are different, it's like being the one mouse walking above the maze instead of the dozens of others trying to navigate from within.
And that's the thing about Wyoming. Sure it's wide open and spacious, but too many people living in closets there.