The Small Town, Slower Life


Coming to North Carolina so often reminds me that I’m much closer to being a city girl than I am to being a small town girl.

My parents and grandmother live in Burnsville, NC, which only got a Starbucks a year or so ago – not its own freestanding structure, mind you – inside a grocery store. There’s one other coffee shop in town, which is my favorite in the whole world except that it closes at 5:30 and I’m on Tucson time, which means it really closes at (what, in my mind is) 2:30.

I don’t really think of myself as being in a hurry, but when I’m here, it always seems I am. When I’m at home, I spend hours each day, reading and writing. I go for walks. I listen to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” again and again and again, in every incarnation in which it exists. However, I read and write while people bustle about near me. I often stroll like I’m being chased. I type like the words will be deleted if I don’t get them down fast enough. While that’s all very relaxing to me, and I feel like I’m stopping to smell the roses, my grandmother seems stressed by my pace just walking out to the car. Day one saw me saying things like, “Let’s go,” and “You’re killing me, Smalls,” to both my mother and grandmother.

I’ve vowed to try to do better, but it’ll probably take me all week to slow down enough for her, but then I’ll be headed home and need to speed up again.

Things are just slower here. I should accept it. Time stands still. People try to tell me of the most recent gossip, and it’s generally the same gossip they told me last time I was here. So-and-so had an affair. That other person dug a well… and I hate gossip anyways.

As a kid, I used to think I’d move here, build a house, and have a family of small-town kiddos. Nowadays, when moving here could actually be a thing, I can’t think of many places I’d more hate moving. I might be able to make it in Asheville. It’s got some character. Still, I may not be cut out for this part of the country.

Talking is a big thing here. I know it’s strange, but I don’t actually like talking very much – especially to lots of people at once or to people I’m not living life with. If there’s something to talk about, I’m fine, but I don’t understand the constant talk about the weather or what’s for supper or the growth of the lawn. I know I’m neglecting the point by saying this, but I think seasons change and the weather is uninteresting. Monsoons are cool, but that’s mostly because they are so violent and few. Food doesn’t interest me too much unless we’re headed out somewhere new. I think cooking is fun, but I don’t understand talking about it while not doing it. While sitting on the porch. To me, lawns grow and people shouldn’t have them if the mowing is such a thing.

If I’m to sit on the porch, I want to not talk. I want to read or stare or listen to music. I cognitively understand that talking is a bonding thing, but I don’t feel any more bonded to a person after talking about the lawn than I feel after sitting with him or her in complete silence.

Also, I hate that people here can be so deterred by weather. It’s rainy today… which makes everyone act like going out would be crazy. They just want to curl up and sleep, which is fine every now and then, but I can’t see doing it every time it rains, and I can’t see not going out when I had planned to go out, just because it’s a little wet out.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night…

Okay, so I may not be that intrepid, but I truly don’t own an umbrella, remember. 😉

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