I’m from a town called Barnesville, Ohio — the land of camouflage, country music and beer. Small-town life was all I knew before going away for college. Sure, it was boring here, but I was used to it.
This is my second summer home from college, and let me tell you, it’s been a real challenge so far. Living near a city has spoiled me. I’ve gotten used to having restaurants, malls and entertainment at my fingertips.
In the month that I’ve been home, I’ve found myself frequently thinking about what people who live in towns like mine simply don’t have–and I’m not talking about you suburban people who live 15 minutes away from a big city.
I’m talking about people who live 20 minutes from the most basic form of modern civilization. This post I dedicate to you and all that you don’t have in your town.
1. The one, prime hangout spot.
If you spent Friday nights hanging out at the bowling alley in Junior High, then you know what I’m talking about. The only other option was whoever’s mom was kind enough to open her home to a bunch of loud, sloppy teenagers who would eat all her food and keep her awake all night.
As you near the age of 21, you begin to realize that a decent bar isn’t even available. If its nickname is “The Dirty Bar” and no one actually knows its real name, going inside simply is not an option. In result, Saturday nights are spent in fields, garages, or on your good old living room couch.
2. The mall that’s not even close and hilariously subpar that you once considered a shopping mecca.
Hence, why you spent Friday nights at the bowling alley in Junior High.
The nearest mall from you is at least a 30-minute drive and let’s face it, even if you decide to make the journey, the mall “near” you probably isn’t worth it. This is why many people from your town plan a day’s shopping trip to the nearest shopping center that actually deserves the title of “mall.”
3. The coffee shop everybody hangs out at.
This is something you were never aware of until you discovered Starbucks for the first time. After your first sip of a Frappuccino or caramel latte, you soon realized your true deprivation.
Even more agonizing is discovering a quaint, local coffee shop in another town or city and realizing that you’ll never again get this experience unless you leave town or take the initiative to open one yourself.
4. The alternative radio station you have some weird pride for.
When scanning through the local stations, you have the choice between Country, Top 40, Country, Classic Rock, and did I mention Country?
Discovering Alternative music takes real work. I’m talking literally seeking out music that appeals to you. Pandora, Spotify, Google–anything to keep you from listening to the radio stations you can pick up in town.
Don’t you let anyone tell you that you’re not a hipster if you come from a small town and listen to Alternative music.
5. The one (maybe two) decent, sit-down restaurants (at which you know the owners personally.)
Sure, there are the few sketchy, sit-down dives where all of the old people spend their free time staring at traffic, but why would you want to take your date there on a Friday night?
Once again, a 30-minute trek to the mall is in store. But by this point in your life, you’re probably sick of the ten restaurants you have to choose from anyway.
Pizza it is. Again.
6. The one, random chain grocery store you never realized was eccentric until you left.
If quinoa isn’t sold and you can’t find the ethnic foods aisle because you accidentally walked past the two shelves of tortilla shells and soy sauce, you know what I’m talking about.
But not to worry, Kroger is only a short 30-minute drive away ;).
7. The fashion that you’d have to see to believe.
If you’re a fashion enthusiast living in your jeans and T-shirt-loving town, you’re often asked the question, “Why are you all dressed up?”
Your response never changes as you confusedly look down at your outfit and reply with a confused, “I didn’t think I was …”
Even better were the snide remarks you heard from your high school peers. If the phrase, “nice shoes” was ever uttered your way, take heart–there are other fashionistas out there just waiting to compliment you.