Friday, December 20, 2013

The Thing About Small Towns....

Is that they microcosims of eccentricity.

I recently had a friend say to me, there's just something weird about these small towns isn't there?

Well, yes, there is. 

But it's what makes them so interesting.  These places are packed with locals who consider city idiots, like me, truly perverse for wanting shops to stay open past 5pm. Why would anyone want to go out for breakfast before 11am on Sunday? 

Sunday's are a real battle field day in small towns with bedroom communities. People like us, who work in the city all week, want weekend amenities. Like restaurants that open to offer breakfast during breakfast hours. Locals want shorter hours, because they've been running their business all week and want a break. The fact that you - literally - can't buy a coffee on Sunday anywhere in town, outside the Fast Gas, has been a major problem for us. When they announced that a Tim Horton's was being built Mark fell to his knees and fist pumped like he had just scored the winning goal in the final game of the World Cup. I worry he may wander into our local coffee shop with a double double just to make a point. 

The other major debate, in any small town, is the pool. Stop in at the coffee shop, when it's open, and you're sure to hear someone talking about it. If the town doesn't have a pool, there is a major push to get one. Like having a school, towns have major inferiority complexes around pools. They don't feel like they are taken seriously until they have one. On the other hand, if the community has a pool, you have a major push to close it because it costs too much money to maintain and isn't used enough. Never bring up the pool with an unknown local. Innocent comments like: I might go lane swimming can land you with a tongue lashing about the inherent waste that is the the pool. 

The other topic everyone worries about is the state of the curling club. They worry that not enough new people are curling. That the club is slowly dying through attrition. Meanwhile, if you try to contact the curling club to find out how to join, no one ever calls you back. If they don't recognize your name as being connected with some local (Oh, that's Bob's boy) no effort is made to return your call. You just wouldn't fit in. You won't understand the inside jokes or the value of traditions that they've established over the years. Worse, you'll probably bring your big city ideas and want to do things like establish set practice times or use email to communicate. Once that internet thing is brought up the end is near. The unspoken rule of curling club is, no new people wanted, but lament the fact that every year you have less teams. 

Overall, small towns are in a constant battle against themselves. Half the town wants things to change, half the town wants things to stay the same. The problem is, nothing ever stays the same. Todays's new idea becomes tomorrow's outdated one. But small towns, unlike cities, have long memories and cling to things. Sometimes this results in wonderful traditions that benefit everyone. Other times it just means your driving to a bigger town to get coffee on Sunday. 

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