Does friendliness work against us?

And do others take us seriously?

It is incomprehensible to anyone who doesn’t live in a small town why others would want to, especially when we complain about the lack of services.

At the same time, many of those same people will say how much they enjoy the small town friendliness and wish their own city was more like that.

It’s a sort of “nice place to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there” mentality.

Last week I had the opportunity to talk to Interior Health Authority CEO Dr. Robert Halpenny while he was in Ashcroft.

He was genuinely tickled by the friendliness of the Ashcroft hospital’s staff and commented that although staff in big hospitals are professional and friendly, they wouldn’t know you by name or ask you how you’ve been.

Then he spent the next 15 minutes telling me why our rural hospital wouldn’t be seeing any infusion of money or return of services because it was important that the big hospitals be well funded. The most important thing was, he said, having well equipped big hospitals and getting patients there quickly for treatment.

I agree with that to some extent. But I also know that the smal town friendliness that he values won’t be here for much longer if our services continue to decline.

Those with a very narrow view of life tell us to move if we don’t like it. But we can’t just pick up everything and relocate. Who will buy our house if we’re all leaving? Will we find jobs in that magical kingdom where everything is available?

If the system isn’t working the way the stakeholders want it to, it needs to be modified to accommodate them.

This isn’t unreasonable. We pay taxes, just like city people. In Canada we expect to be treated equally, not as second class because we don’t live in a sprawling urban centre with rising crime.

Sometimes, I think, we’re just too friendly for our own  good.

Wendy Coomber is the editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal