I guess the first question here is, “what classifies a town as ‘small‘?”. That answer will probably vary depending on where you were brought up yourself. Small is subjective to where you’ve lived and what you personally consider small. Yet, I bet we can all agree that no matter what we classify as a small town, a few thousand or a couple hundred people, there is definitely some sort of a picture in our minds of what it must be like. If you come from a small town yourself, you’re probably the one constantly battling the plethora of stereotypes thrown your way. If you come from “the big city”, then maybe you’re curious to know what it’s really all about. Well look no further! I come from a town of roughly 500 people, so allow me to provide you with some insight.
First: What to expect.
- People will be all up in your business. There isn’t much else to do or talk about so keeping up on everyone’s lives is a common pastime.
- “Downtown” doesn’t really exist, unless you count the post office, café and gas station on Main drag.
- The closest bar around is a good 40 minute drive, but the legion is always open if you’re looking for some fun!
- Most people have a pet, or livestock, or quota, or all of the above.
- You better have your G2, because you’ll need to drive yourself to pretty much everywhere.
Oh, and chances are no one will know where you’re from so you always have to say the next closest city so people can get a general idea of where you’re talking.
- Everyone knows everyone
- Main Street is pretty much all there is to it
- Word travels fast
- You live in the middle of nowhere
- All people listen to is country music
- There may or may not be a traffic light
- You can always count on your neighbour to borrow that cup of sugar
- Everyone wears plaid and cowboy boots
- and many more…
Now which ones are actually true?
I can only speak of my own personal small town encounters, so this is not make a generalization of “small towns”. Although, I have my suspicions it may be consistent across the board.
I would like to say to that the majority of these are misconceptions, but they really aren’t. In my last few years of high school, we had a ‘bring your tractor to school day’ and it made the headlines in the yearbook. Kid you not, all of the students who owned tractors, which was the vast majority, drove them into school one morning and parked them in the student parking lot. I’m not sure how much more small town you can really get.
I’ve also encountered my fair share of plaid and boots. Now, not everyone goes around sporting the latest country chic but it isn’t uncommon, especially for the true “hicks”. This also segues to the whole country music stereotype. That’s definitely a thing where I’m from. Boots and Hearts, Music in the Fields, and all those country music festivals are a go-to for the summer. Everyone and their mother goes; no joke – some of them you can park your camper there for the weekend.
About the whole “living in the boonies thing”.. not inaccurate but there are bigger towns and cities within 10-30 minutes. One neighbouring town even has a small movie theatre! Woohoo! But, just because you may have to drive a further distance for shopping centres and grocery stores doesn’t mean that you’re ‘off the map’ so to speak. In a small town, everyone knows who you are and, if they don’t know you, they definitely know your parents or where you come from. It’s just a thing to know at least a little about the people who live next door. Chances are, your families grew up together.
I could go on about the small town life, but instead I will direct you to a highly entertaining TV series that will satisfy your small town curiosity needs, “Letterkenny Problems”. Ten out of ten would recommend.