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Small town bumpkins moving to the big city is a common story for everything from books and songs to movies and reality tv shows. And although there are a few which do the reverse, none really capture what it is really like for urban and suburban people to move to a small town. Well this list does exactly that, so without further ado…
1. Gas stations close
To small town folks this is natural, but city folks are plain stumped the first time they pull up to a gas station at 10pm and the lights are off. Must of us have never even conceived of a gas station closing unless it has completely gone out of business.
2. Shortage of doctors
Something a family quickly learns once they go rural, is how hard it is to get a family doctor. Many actually have waiting lists of patients. But on a better note, emergency rooms are not quite as packed.
3. Walmart is everything
Especially in a very small town, the importance of Walmart cannot be understated. It is the central place for groceries, clothing, household items, holiday gifts, checking cashing and bill paying for a radius that could be upwards of 50 miles. And in some areas, it even becomes the youth hangout spot.
4. No traffic
City folks know what it is like to take an hour to literally move 100 ft. One benefit of a small town is easily covering 10 miles in around 10-15 minutes regardless of the time of day.
5. Space between towns
If you grew up in a city or suburb, you seamlessly go from one town to another as you drive. In fact, the only way most know they have entered a new city is seeing a sign which tells them so. But once you leave a small town, you can drive for several miles without any sign of civilization other than an occasional farmhouse.
6. No left turn signals
In more populated areas, it is quite rare to encounter a stoplight lacking a left turn arrow. But in a small town, the opposite is true. And if you are not careful, you will find yourself turning left on green out of habit.
7. 10,000 or more people is a city
One thing which blows city folks minds, is learning what country folks consider a city would not even be a suburb to us. The kicker is finding out someone’s high school graduating class was a double or single digit number.
8. Everyone knows each other
Okay everyone does not literally know each other (except in really, really rural places), but they probably know someone related to them. And even if you do not know someone, they may shockingly say “hi” to you for some odd reason.
9. Cost of living
When urbanites learn the cost of rent and houses in a small town, we are genuinely floored. In some cases what it costs to live in or near a city is anywhere from double to quadruple of what it would be further out.
10. Farm animals
Farm animals are typically seen by city people on tv, at zoos or during a special school field trip with a lot of driving. Oh yeah, we also cannot forget those ripoff farms that charge and arm a leg for hay rides or dollar store items. Seeing cows and horses within 5 or 10 miles of where we live is just not normal.
11. Family distance
One big difference about family life in a small town is many people are much more resistant to moving away. There are many families where pretty much every relative lives within 15 min. of each other. This is in contrast to city people where many of us cannot wait to go off and see something different.
12. Shopping options
If you are used to getting anything you want with a short drive or walk from your house, small town living might be hard on you. And if you have a taste for designer labels, you are going to have a bad time. There are no malls and what they might call one is really just a strip mall. On the brighter side, it is a great place to live if you want to save your money from frivolous spending.
13. Diversity…or lack of
People of color who have mainly grown up around other people of color, will have major culture shock the first time they end up in Mayberry. Few if any of our hair care products will be available nor someone we trust to cut our hair. The food may seem blander and some of the questions we are asked are ridiculous. However, there is freedom in no longer feeling the pressure to constantly look and dress as if someone is waiting to catch us off gaurd. It really is quite liberating once you embrace it.
14. Local news is less depressing
Turning on the local news and hearing 80 people died in fires, 50 people got shot and half of city hall got arrested is like a Tuesday to city dwellers; unfortunately. News in a small town is still usually negative in focus, but at least the numbers are much lower.
15. Dirt roads
A driveway composed of gravel is about all the non-paved road urban folks ever drive on. So when we have to drive on a dirt road for the first time, it is quite the experience. We hear rocks pinging our car, they are extremely slick in rain or snow and there are two ditches on both sides if we slip up. But perhaps worst of all, they can barely fit two cars at a time and you cannot see around corners or hills in case one is coming from the opposite direction. And thanks to those two ditches, everyone drives in the middle of these poor visibility roads.
16. Everything closes early
Many city people are accustomed to getting anything they might have a craving for at nearly all times of the day. If we want a burger after midnight or to pawn our tv at 3am, there is no problem. But when living in small town America, you would be lucky to find anything besides bars open after 10pm. And on a Sunday it can be as early as 5pm. That is, everything except Walmart.
17. People eat gas station food
Speaking of getting food, the food served at rural gas stations is surprisingly edible. In fact, some of the food is made-to-order. In a city, one of the biggest gambles someone could take is eating one of those hot dogs that has been spinning on that carousel for X number of days.
18. No street lights
If the only thing you typically use your high beams for is to signal people, you probably do not live in a small town. Rural places tend to mainly have street lights downtown while everywhere else is only lit by moonlight. By the way, the downtown area will usually be about two blocks at most.
19. Movie theaters
People who like going to the movies regularly, may find it very difficult to get their fill in a small town. Instead of the 15 theater multiplex they are used two, they might only find a duplex.
20. Everything is on one road
The main road in a small town is where practically every building that is not a house or factory is also located. Getting lost is not much of a worry.
To be honest, people actually go hunting everywhere. The main difference between small towns and cities is where what they hunt ends up. When rural people hunt, it ends up on the back of their car. When city people hunt, it ends up on the news.
By Corey Dorsey