"Hate" is one term tossed around often by locals whenever I hear that someone from California has moved into our neck of the woods. Part of me wants to believe that Montanans are saying that word with a tounge-in-cheek approach. Because we are, aren't we? For decades, Californians have been the target of many local, somewhat harmless jokes. We don't really mean any harm. Right? Help me understand.

First off, "hate" is a pretty strong term, so for the sake of this healthy conversation I wish to downgrade that word to "strongly dislike", if you don't mind. I'm sure you really don't HATE them, it's just that you must find something unappealing about people from California to begin with. This is what I'm trying to wrap my head around.

I noticed this more so yesterday when we broke the news that singer John Mayer is now living in Bozeman, MT. I'm not exaggerating when I say that nearly all of the comments concerning that article were overwhelmingly negative. Comments like "oh great, another one" or "man, can't they just leave us alone?" were tossed around far too often. Granted, Mayer does have a bit of a douchebag-ish aura about him (we weren't the first to say it) but it is a characteristic that he himself has addressed and is hoping to improve upon. Perhaps Montana can change him? What's so wrong with that? Maybe our lifestyle changes everyone for the better?

Aside from just John Mayer, most Montanans "strongly dislike" Californians. Now while I've only lived here for about a decade (a Washington transplant myself) I still can't quite comprehend the mindset that the people born and raised here have towards people from places like L.A. and Beverly Hills.

Wouldn't it be fair to say that anyone from outside of our area moving here is a good thing? I've always envisioned this valley to be like a Tupperware bowl full of Honey Nut Cheerios. We, as current residents, the Cheerios, tend to stick around at the bottom of the bowl living happily together, soaking in the same flavored milk, floating around in nutritious harmony, and unless something else, like a slices of bananas or fruit come along to give us more flavor we start to become, well, soggy. Not to say that Californians are fruity, but...you get what I'm trying to say.

The point I'm trying to make with that analogy is that people from out of town bring money, new ideas, and often inspires the people around them. What is the harm in that? Is it a certain attitude that they bring along with them? The pollution that their cars bring to our roads? What is it exactly?

Let's have a polite discussion here. Please be kind with your words in the comment section below.