Place Where You Live:

Montgomery, New York

Bubble of sanity

I grew up in the small town of Montgomery, New York. There is not much to say about the town. Less than a thousand people lived there, mostly consisting of farmers, small shop owners, and firefighters. The only things to do were to go play in the woods or do doughnuts in the high school parking lot. While this sleepy town was not much to talk about, it was the surrounding community that was notable, and really helped to shape who I am today. Orange County New York has a mashup of millions of diverse jobs, people, and locations that seems straight out of a sitcom, with how dense it all is in story. One of my first jobs was with the county government, working as an inspector for gas stations and supermarkets. Within 2 weeks, I was thrust into the middle of a massive investigation that ended in a red herring – literally. It turns out that a local supermarket was embezzling with fish and other fresh seafood, of all things. As if that could not be topped, the next summer I worked with the emergency services department for the county. As I mentioned above, one of the major occupations in my home town was firefighter. In most places, a few volunteers would suffice, but this was Orange County. You look one way, you have a massive nuclear power plant. The other way, you have one of America’s largest cardboard factories. Down the street, a massive shopping center that has been the target of homeland security raids and monitoring for years. As if all of that is not a mess, there was also a large community that, through multiple municipal coups, nearly disbanded all of their safety and fire codes, leading to a mass of connected houses with no safety considerations. To say it was a hectic job would be an understatement, yet at the end of every day I went back home to my sleepy town, looking out the windows at the stars and the grazing cows, wondering what insanity the world outside my little hometown’s bubble would bring.