Jonny’s note: Jenn Prosser, both a student and active community member, is the newest contributor to Lethbian Love.
Lethbridge is a mash up of students and townies. It’s a little like “The Outsiders,” only less hair grease and more church (and I have yet to meet Pony Boy). Students, who make up 12% of the population, are gently tolerated by the rest of city and exist in their own little worlds. Shy and retiring, they live in small clumps, preferring to breed amongst each other. Although they don’t avoid interaction with the “townies,” they do have an annoying habit of assuming everyone under the age of 25 is one of their own.
Berkeley Place, residence buildings and most low-income housing heave with this segment of the Lethbridge population. Rarely venturing outside their invisible boundaries, they prefer to find sustenance in the form of $5 pizzas and Duke wings, and take for granted the endless opportunity for activity at their fingertips.
Then there are the townies, who are better known here (and it seems only here) as Lethbians. They are a specific breed of people who have chosen to call this place home for a period of time not defined by terms and summer breaks. With the off chance that students encounter these people, they are often gazed upon with a certain awe; a respect hard-earned by their diligent insistence that the high level bridge is really cool and that closing shop at 5PM does not inconvenience anyone. During these chance encounters, Lethbians react similarly; a general inquiry as to where one is from quickly determines the level of further interaction to be had.
If a young person heralds from anywhere farther than Coaldale, they are instantly relegated to the “student” status. A fine person to be had, but certainly not one of “us.” These meetings are usually marked with some kind of investigative inquiring:
“What is your major?”
“What do you plan on doing with that?”
…all code for “Why are you HERE and when are you leaving?”
Townies seem content to see the ebb and flow of student population continue as is. Change seems to be accepted slowly and with skepticism. A novel idea, store or program is carefully surveyed for the better part of a decade before it becomes truly accepted. Responsive is most definitely not Lethbridge’s middle name.
But there are those brave few, both townies and students, who venture into the unknown and embrace what they have not had the chance to dissect. These are those Lethbians who come together to see greats like Bob Dylan in our town, who hail sustainable fashion, flock to 4AM poutine and proudly wave their art gallery memberships at SAAG events.
These few are a special group who choose to be embrace the true Lethbian way – the way of openness and welcoming. They cross the river several times a day and venture into the concrete walls of the university, drink at the neighbourhood pub, volunteer and write letters to the Herald. Sure, some may take classes but do not let the “student lifestyle” define who they are, while others don’t just lie in complacency and ignorance. We here at Lethbian Love embrace these rarities and hold them up as true Lethbians!