I’m a city girl. The fact that I happen to have spent the last fourteen years living in a town that has about the same population as my former high school has not changed that. I came to this town quite by accident, stayed because I fell in love, and then just lost track of time. Really, I never thought we would be here quite this long.
"My Little Town" Painting by Nancy Pridham
But now we are moving. Not far away. Just over to the other side of the highest mountain pass in Canada, to a slightly bigger, though still pretty small town. One that has sushi. And shoe stores. And French immersion.
A few months ago I started a conversation on Facebook with the words: “You know you live in a small town when…” I started it on a day when this small town was driving me crazy. On a day when it took longer for the cashier to grill me about my personal life than it did for her to ring in my groceries. On a day when I craved the anonymity of the city.
Now, as we extricate ourselves from the fabric of this community that has woven itself around and through us, I thought I would share that conversation with you. Here it is.
You know you live in a small town when…
- about two dozen people ask if everyone is okay at your house, since they saw an ambulance in the driveway.
- the teacher looks out the window, sees someone leaving the house and marks him as late already.
- more often than not you can recognize people you barely know from behind, at a distance, just by their way of walking.
- a guest of a local asks her host, on coming out of the drug store: “How did they know we weren’t from here?”
- the closest mall is an hour an a half away.
- everyone knows your bad news five minutes after you do, but then there is a whole community of support too.
- the clerk at the video store tells you there is a late charge on your account, then asks if you want to pay it now. You can say no and still rent the movie.
- grocery shopping is as much a social event as it is an outing to restock the fridge.
- you ask the drugstore clerk which aisle the band aids are in. She points to a shopper and says: “See Rob over there? He’s standing right next to them.”
- the cashier at the grocery store knows more about your life than you do (and has a long discussion with the customer behind you in line about what you should do about it.)
- you don’t do things because you know everyone is playing connect the dots with your life. (If they are doing this…they must be up to that…)
- caveat to the above is when your car is in the shop, or you have a new car. Then you can do what you want for a few days, until everyone figures out what you are driving now.
- you have a family connection with every single child at circle time at day care.
- you drive around for hours trying to get lost…and don’t manage to.
Goodbye, our little town. You have given us so very much. Thank you.
By the way, our house is for sale. There will be an open house on Saturday, July 16th from 11am-1pm. So, come on by! Tell your friends! I would give you the mls number, but you don’t need it. You know where we live.