Small Town Habits.
May 28, 2011
What’s it like moving from a town of 10,000 people, where I’m confident that I’d recognize a good fourth of the population, to a city of 2.6 million, where I know just about ten or so? Well. It gets a little dicey, especially when it comes down to all of those warm, friendly habits I learned while living in Wyoming. I’ve had to flip my head around here, because this ain’t the old west, partner.
After being asked about where I grew up, I get a lot of blank, puzzled stares when I say that I went on a lot of hikes, rode the occasional horse, shot clays with a shotgun, went snowboarding, worked for a meat processing plant, floated the river, helped bale hay a couple of times, and cleared a potato field. I also went camping (summer and winter) and could identify scat left behind from most mammals.
“Yeah, but, like, did you do normal stuff too?” a coworker asked me.
“Nope,” I said. I hocked back and spat onto the floor. (Okay, I didn’t do that, but I should have.)
While I was never the cowboy-like adolescent that our fine state of Wyoming breeds, I definitely had a soft spot for nature and love for a simpler way of living. I never realized how many outdoorsy skills I had until I realized how badly I needed them out here. My sense of direction, while flipped on its head when surrounded by skyscrapers, is surprisingly intact as I emerge from the underground Red Line train into the bright lights of the city. My balance aboard a train is near flawless; as I bend my knees and treat the moving car like a snowboard, I have no need to hold onto the rail. And my sense of smell, though raped by the daily foul stench of sewage, fuel and mildew, can lead me to fresher air and delicious foods.
Yes, it seems that a country boy can indeed live in the city. However, as my biology adjusts, my head cannot swing the fact that I am not home. Here are a few small town habits I can’t seem to shake, and their big cities realities that put me in my place. I have encountered all of these things.
- A Honking Car
Small Town: Someone you know is trying to get your attention! Turn and wave!
Big City: You are about to die. Be alert, and move.
- A Big Black Shadow
Small Town: Probably a moose or other large mammal. Change your path.
Big City: A harmless Sedan. Keep walking.
- Someone is Lying on the Sidewalk
Small Town: Possibly injured citizen. Observe and assist if necessary.
Big City: Possibly dead citizen. Keep walking.
- A Yellow Lab Takes an Interest In You
Small Town: “Hello pup! Hi, is this your dog?” “Sure is!” “Aw, what’s his name?” “Dingo!”
Big City: “Hello pup! Hi, is this your dog?” Owner yanks him away and keeps walking.
- Filling up Your Water Bottle from the Tap in Front of Strangers
Small Town: No reaction.
Big City: “What are you doing?! You drink that?!” (Seriously.)
- A Strange Man Asks You ‘A Quick Question’
Small Town: Politely listen and assist if possible.
Big City: He wants money, so ignore everything said until you say “no” to make him go away.
- “Would You Like Topping on Your Popcorn?”
Small Town: “It’s real butter? Heck yes!”
Big City: Always, always, always, for the sake of your bowels, “No.”
Small Town: In abundance.
Big City: Impossible to find.