When things in the world and/or in our little worlds get too complicated we tend to dream of places that are "untouched" by the progress of time, a simpler place where people are all like the ones in the time travel parts of "Back to the Future" or "Peggy Sue Got Married." Families are intact and dishes are washed by hand. Or maybe we long for a little "Little House in The Prairie" where everything is home grown and homemade. The Hippies started this back to the garden type thing, and although they had really cool bohemian styles and a lot of weed, the whole commune thing didn't work, because the truth is there are times when you do NOT love the one you're with. At All. And if you live on the land there aren't many getaway options, unless you manage to tame a mustang, or you have a set of keys to the pick up truck, not the tractor, as that would take way too long to get you far enough away from those wackos.
It's now, once again becoming a trend to make these nature/Commune/Norman Rockwell/ Northern Exposure/Homesteading dreams into a reality and so that is why many people are leaving the city and heading for the smaller places, such as the place I live, "Small Town." After putting up with the invisibility of the city culture, some people long for a place where everyone knows your name and quirky is the norm. Mistake number One. Quirky is only amusing once. If that. Also? Legal Name Changes are expensive. Just sayin'.
Yeah. That's how it starts. After you've been living in one of these places for like 7 hours, someone will likely try to help you get the lay of the land, perhaps by telling you that people in town do not lock their doors. They told us that almost 7 hours to the minute after we moved in. A lot of people adopt this folksy and yet dangerous custom, people who should know better, like those who have lived somewhere other than the town they were born in. Mistake Number Two.
It's been several years and I haven't left my door unlocked once. In fact, I added another lock just in case. And still people will try to barge in. The other day I neglected to lock the first lock, so someone came in without knocking but was met with the second lock so decided to yell "Helloooooooo!!!!" Helooooooooo!!" in a singsongy voice too many times until I was afraid of what I might do. In the end I did nothing and it went away. Not a Mistake. Things and people in small town will go away eventually, but take much longer to go than they do in a bigger place. Just be firm in your resolve to ignore them because no one wants to see you without your face on anyway.
So, if by some chance you are reading this and thinking about moving to a smaller simpler place, knowing that I couldn't talk you out of it if I tried because you likely have some John Denver song replaying over and over again in your head, I will simply reveal the lies that others might have told you, or the lies you've been telling yourself. After that, you're on your own.
1. Romantic Idea - It will be so nice to live in a place where people are kinder and form close communities and go out of their way to help each other. Truth: People are people. The people who live in small places are the same jerks who live in bigger places and just like the ones who live on FB and make comments online about everything . They just have more time to do it because jobs are scarce and they are likely living in their parents basement or with their baby momma who has three jobs to make ends meet and to feed the 3 kids from 3 different dads. Or they are old enough to collect a pension and save coupons and demand senior discounts and fart without a care in very public places.
2. Romantic Idea It will be so nice to be closer to nature. Truth: Hurricanes, Blizzards, rain rain rain rain, snow, snow, snow, snow, leaky roofs, bankrupting oil bills, wood piling, wood carrying, wood unburying, wood burning, ash sweeping, ash disposal, ugly winter clothes, hat head, frostbite, finding yourself in the middle of February, typing the same sentence over and over and over and over on an old typewriter., and talking to ghostly bartenders who aren't really there. The only places open in winter is the pub and the dollar store. I suggest you go to the pub first. The dollar store is hard to take when sober, but when drunk it's quite hysterical. You may not remember why you bought the stuff your bought, but just stick it all in a drawer and you'll find a use for it someday, or you can put them into small paper bags and give them away as "grab bags" at Halloween, or create some really bad art.
3. Romantic Idea - locals always seem like such fun. Truth: Not for more than 1.5 minutes. Do you REALLY want Daryl, Daryl and his other brother Daryl painting your house? Not if you're a woman you don't. If there is a man in the family, he's the one they semi-listen to. When The Little Woman talks, they hear this "Waa Whawawaawaa Whaaaaa Wha." Then they nod like they understand and like they intend to do whatever she said, but then they don't and leave early to go drinking.
Romantic Idea -I just love the local accents. They are so quaint and folksy, Truth - Yeah, until you try to understand them. I had a conversation with a neighbor almost every day for 2 summers and I never understood a single word he said, but I did have to see a doctor about my chronically sore neck from all that nodding and smiling.
So, if your heart is set on living in a smaller, simpler place, well, nothing I can say will stop you, but just don't come crying to me later, because my doors will be locked. All of them.