Zoom Towns, Eastern Edition
As I'm sure you remember, last week's sermonette was devoted to an interesting phenomenon being seen today in urban America. Like the brave pioneers of the 1850s leaving their homes and loading up their Conestoga wagons before heading West, today's high-tech, high-credit-score strivers are leaving their condos and loading up their Teslas with their laptops, e-bikes and espresso machines before leaving the city.
Where are these city folks going? They're going to the country.
The new breed of pioneers are remote workers. They don't have to work in the office, so they don't have to work in the city, which means they don't have to fight traffic, inhale polluted air or pay through the nose for the basic minimums of life, like imported, artisanal kombucha, exported, artisanal probiotics, and 100% organic, cage-free, plant-based nachos.
Like the old pioneers, the new pioneers do face risks. The simple folk who live in the rural towns that are about to be overrun won't sit idly by as Zoom workers make house prices zoom while sorghum prices collapse. In fact, the locals can get downright nasty about the matter. This can be worrying to the new immigrants. No one wants to look up from their yoga mat to see angry townspeople carrying burning torches and shouting, "Remote workers go home!"
If you are one of the new-age lemmings packing up your sourdough starter for the great migration, you need to know which bucolic hamlets will greet you with open arms instead of closed fists. Last week, I listed welcoming cities in the West, but if you don't want to cowboy out your working years, here are Eastern cities happy to welcome you and your money.
Hurt, Virginia: What better place to sooth what's left of your battered brain than this "congenial, family-oriented town." And soothing is what you need. You survived office life by successfully developing devious coping mechanisms, none of which work when you're working from home. In the office, you could always avoid your manager by hiding in the supply closet or disappearing under your desk. This is impossible when your manager can suddenly pop up on your computer, demanding to know why you're not appearing in your little box on the company Zoom screen.
Your friends and co-workers are tired of hearing about your difficulties in making the big bucks while working in your pajamas, but in congenial Hurt, with a population of 1,300, including you, at least one person should be willing to listen to your tales of remote working woe.
Canadian, Texas: For everyone who has packed a bag and is ready to run for the border if the election does not go your way, this tiny Texas town could be your Shangri La.
Unfortunately, you can't move to the real Canada; they don't want us. But don't be sad. Even if Canada did decide to let us in, you don't have the stomach to eat poutine three times a day or end every sentence with an "eh." You won't have to change your diet or your sentence structure in the "oasis of the high plains," where residents can honestly brag that they are Canadian citizens.
Sounds good, eh?
Coward, South Carolina: Coward bills itself as "a quiet peaceful place," which sounds just about perfect after all the years you've spent in the noisy battlefield that is your job. What's it like living with cowards, scared to make the slightest change in the way they've always done business? You should know. It's just like meeting with your manager.
China, Texas: Everyone is talking about China, and moving to this charming town will put you into the conversation. Your address is sure to confuse the HR department, so make sure you are clear that you are in China, Texas, not China, China. Otherwise, your paycheck will be sent directly to Beijing. Hopefully, your work will go wonderfully well, but if things turns sour, you can always start building islands in the China Sea or taking over Hong Kong.
Colon, Michigan: You have to be very sure of your position in the company before announcing you will now be working remotely from Colon. But once the laughter dies down, you will be happily living in the city Congress has designated "The Magic Capital of the World."
More than 30 magicians are buried in the Colon cemetery, but they'll surely make room for you once the city fathers see the magical way you disappear when there is any work has to be done.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.