Today we are going to talk about some rules for living in a small town. I bet you are thinking, how complicated can it be? A limited population, no traffic, and a life of peaceful, simplicity.....HA! It is not simple and rarely peaceful. Let's begin...shall we?
1. When you arrive, assume that everyone is your relative. Now, I know what you have heard about the word, assume. However, the dictionary states that assume means: to think something is true without proof. Just this once, assume everyone is related to you in some form or fashion. It will save you unmentionable trouble and humiliation. This means the unshaven, half naked man at the gas station, the crazy gentlemen at the grocery store checkout who asks you how your trip to Paris was, and the man who plays songs on his air drill....in public. (no lie) Yes, they are all related to you. They will tell you that they are and unfortunately it is likely true.
2. Big deals are made at the local beauty shop. And, I am talking about all financial and real estate deals. I know this to be true because I have heard it happen and it happened to me. I sold a house strictly by word of mouth at the beauty shop. I was quite taken aback by this when I first moved here. I mean...who wheels and deals at the beauty shop? Everyone in smalltownland. Respect the power of the beauty shop.
3. Never think that you can just "run in and out" at the grocery store. You will always see someone you know. This includes crazy relatives asking about your trip to Paris. You must learn to confront the situation head on and make the conversation brief. Because, there will be conversation. It is expected. And don't think you can get away with hiding out in the feminine hygiene protection aisle. Small town groceries are notoriously small.
4. People will know you by association. If, by the smallest chance, you are not related to a person, they will associate you with one of your relatives that they know. This is a very common practice. Since you cannot choose your relatives, you must pray hard that you have ended up with some good ones. Because, like it or not, people will know you...because of them.
5. Do not speed, write a cold check, toilet paper a tree, etc..... Why, you ask? Because your name will end up in the weekly newspaper, a.k.a. the local fishwrapper. Your name, age, and address, along with the details of your heinous crime, will be revealed for all of smalltownland to read. I would like to say that I have not personally been listed in the crime events section....yet. However, I read this column each week to see how many people I know.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief, yet informative, post. I would like to entitle this: Rules Part I, because you know there are only more to come.