Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ode to Small Town USA: Why country music makes me want to simultaneously punch someone in the face and burst into tears.

   I'm so quick to forget how small towns work. Having grown up in one and moved to a larger city I like to think I've adapted fairly well. I feel like a dual citizen of two very different worlds. One isn't better than the other.. cities and villages both have their gems- and their dirt.
    I spent memorial weekend back home and was reminded once again how the western slope in general functions, in good ways and bad.
    Example A: News travels extraordinarily fast.
         Someone robbed the bank across the street while I was sitting at breakfast. I had a feeling something was going down when we drove past a policeman wearing a bullet-proof vest and armed with a semi-automatic hiding behind a fence.
     Since I'm accustomed to receiving information via "legitimate" news sources, I continued about my day making a mental note to check the news tomorrow.
    However, small towns do not operate this way. To hell with the papers nobody trusts them anyway. By the time I got to my parents house my mother had every detail any cop that side of Vail had.
      This is literally how the chain of information works.
             Mom: "Well you know Dennis down the street? His cousin works for the police department, so he told Dennis, who told Anthony- you know him he lives behind us, always having those fun little parties, grows great zucchini? Well we were out gardening at the same time and he told me all about it. Apparently the guy was wearing sunglasses and carpenter's mask but looks a lot like your sister's boyfriend*. He took off on foot headed west, probably had a car waiting on the other side of the park."

            *My sister's boyfriend did not rob the bank, but people all over town are still giving him the evil-eye.
         I'm not saying things never get twisted in this community grapevine, but if aliens ever invade Washington and replace the president with a robot, my mother will probably hear about it over the back fence way before CNN has time to get anything together.

     Example B: Everyone, I mean EVERYONE is armed.
     Only in small towns can you go to the shooting range on a Saturday morning and run into your Pastor shooting off some of his handguns. It makes you feel uneasy, and yet somehow safer, like you know someone is eventually going to accidentally shoot his cousin, but if the Russians invade you just might make it.

    Example C: Perverts aren't prosecuted they're labeled "eccentric" and "just lonely".
            I was at the grocery store renting a movie for my youngest sibling one night when a large old man pulled up behind me in an electric scooter. (I should point out now that I recognized him immediately since he's been hanging around the grocery store "visiting" with people for years now.)
        Rather than waiting quietly and at a safe distance for me to finish picking a movie from Redbox, as is the social custom for anyone living in a city of more than 10,000 people, he pulled up next to me and began giving his personal reviews of every movie I acted interested in. He finally got quiet for a moment and then asked
     "Where do I know you from?" I knew that question was coming and reluctantly admitted to having worked in the grocery store several years ago. He then gave me one more creepy up-down and sputtered out:
      "Ok that makes sense, I knew I recognized that body."
     It creeped me out so bad I panicked and rented the first PG rated film I saw and fled the store.*

    * I was later informed by my eleven year-old brother that Tangled is "Totally a chick flick" and "can't we just watch Flashpoint instead? At least when people kiss in that show it usually results in someone getting shot."
    The thing is, this man has been doing this to women for at least as long as I can remember and everyone just rolls their eyes and explains that he's just a lonely old man whose trying to connect with people. Ya, he's trying to connect alright- trying to connect his The rest of this sentence has been removed for the sake of family members, but you get where I'm going.

     Example D: What city-dwellers refer to as "Hicks", we know as "my neighbor Bill".
        There is an outstanding multitude of douche-bags with camo pants and confederate flag tattoos, driving their girlfriend's F150 while blaring Nickelback and winking at anything with boobs.
     Despite the gross old man in the grocery store, the fact that the closest movie theater is half an hour away and going out to breakfast means your omelette will most likely be made by a fat drunk man sporting cut-off shorts and  a "These colors don't run" American Flag shirt, I love my home town. There is something to be said for places where no matter where you are you'll run into someone you know.
     There is something to be said for the fact that one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country is 10 minutes away, and there is something magical about seeing a bunch of Hippies, Rednecks, Artists, Teachers, Students, Athletes, Tourists and Locals all sitting down in the same cafe to eat breakfast, because it's the only place to go.
       Oh, and don't worry, that explosion you heard is just a meth house going up outside town.

1 comment:

  1. oh this made me so happy/nostalgic/glad I moved away - all at the same time. You're right about the guns thing. I refuse to have any in our house but if aliens invade I am heading for the in-laws.