My Love-Hate Relationship

20 Oct

It’s no surprise to those that know me that I have a longstanding love-hate relationship with the small town I live in. Yes, I’m from one of those towns where everybody knows you, your mama and daddy, your aunts and uncles, who you dated in the tenth grade, etc. You know, one of those places where everybody remains all up in your business whether you’d like them there or not. One of those towns where political campaigns become personal and bitter, where you can’t go to the grocery store without having a 40 minute conversation with your high school math teacher, and where the local paper is published weekly and still hurts for “news.”

At times, this can be a good thing. I love the fact that small town people are the first to band together and help “one of their own” – be it with prayers, donations, or just lending a helping hand where needed. I love that small town people have an incredible amount of pride in their town’s schools, athletic events, local businesses and community festivals. Most times, you won’t find better family values or better home cookin‘ than in a small town. And, I love that small towns have a certain charm about them that big cities lack. In a small town, an abandoned building adds “character” – in a big city, it’s an eyesore.

There are other times, however, when living in a small town can be, well, different. You have to be cautious about what you say (and who you say it to) in a little town. You could be five minutes into a conversation and realize that the person you are talking to is kin to the person you are talking about. Awkward. You can run into the post office, drug store, wherever, looking like death and run into everyone you haven’t seen in a year. If you avoid them, you’re stuck up. If you talk to them, you’re more than likely going to be the topic of a phone conversation that goes a little something like, “Hey ___. You will never believe who I saw at the drug store today. And, she looked terrible. Yeah, she must be going through a rough time right now.”

Which brings me to the gossip. Oh, the gossip. If you lose weight, you’re stressed. Maybe you just started exercising? If you gain weight, you’re pregnant. Maybe you just like to eat? If you’re married without children, you must have marital problems. Maybe you aren’t ready financially, emotionally, or just don’t plan to have kids? Most times, the gossip is both pointless and harmless, but it exists almost daily nonetheless.

Like everything else in life, there are positives and negatives to leading a small town life. A few Sundays ago, I rode to the grocery store and smiled to myself as I saw people walking in town, kids playing outside at a church and people sitting on their front porch swings. At that moment, I thought how nice it was to live in a place where Sunday evenings are slow and peaceful. Then, as I got out of my car to go inside the store for one item (a trip that should take me from my door to the store and back in 10 minutes), I saw someone I hadn’t seen in a while. I got home an hour later.

2 Responses to “My Love-Hate Relationship”

  1. Meigs October 22, 2008 at 12:45 am #

    I am really suprised that the grocery store was actually open on a Sunday. Too bad alcohol isnt sold in your town, can you imagine the talk?? You just need to come on back to Columbia! It’s is big city with a little bit of that small town feel. Come back, we miss you, seriously!!

  2. Southern Girl October 23, 2008 at 11:59 pm #

    I’ll be praying for you…and everyone else in that town…

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