I did not ever expect to live in a small town in rural Missouri. Let's face it, no one who grew up in Colorado has Missouri on their radar as a possible homestead. Especially a town of under 20,000 that is 3 hours from any major city. And although it does contain a university it would never be labeled a 'college town.' But this is where I've hung my proverbial hat for the last 4+ years. (Not a real hat since my head is unnaturally small so I have to shop in the kids section for hats and I don't want a Hannah Montana hat...how does Hannah Montana keep making it into my posts? She really is everywhere.)
I would not have thought I would have become a townie so quickly. I grew up in Denver. I spent 5 years in the Chicago area. How can that level of metropolitan-ism disappear from your system so quickly? How can it take me about 30 minutes of driving on a busy highway in a city before I stop thinking "WHY ARE THERE SO MANY CARS SO CLOSE TO ME ALL DRIVING LIKE MANIACS?!?!?!?!?!?"
Don't get me wrong, the real locals would never call me a townie (which could possibly be hate speech, but I'm not enough of a townie to know how insulting it is...) because I don't leave my car unlocked and running in the parking lot of Walmart while I shop just because it's cold out or have all of the people that I see in Walmart comment that they saw my old ford running and did I get new mudflaps?
But I never get through Walmart or anywhere else without seeing at least one person I know and usually I see a handful. And I did run into the lady who is the receptionist at our car repair shop when she handed me a happy meal at the McDonald's window. And then I saw her the next day at the lake taking photographs of her high school aged daughter. She kindly didn't ask me about our cars. The last time I called the shop she said, "Hi Janice! Are you bringing in the Jetta or the Taurus?" Then she sounded genuinely excited when I told her we had a new car. I bet her daughter knows now too. In fact they probably checked it out in the parking lot at the lake.
And when I decide to vent at Girl's Night Out about the hated creepy halloween decorations at Walgreens, it turns out that out of the 8 of us there, the one new girl is married to the Walgreens manager. She didn't come back the next month.
And I use phrases that normal city folk would use, but are wildly inappropriate here. For instance I have said many times with complete honesty that "I don't get all the way down to JC Penney's very often." Which is sad enough since we have essentially no other source of clothing in town besides Walmart, but is much worse when I face the fact that according to Google Earth, JC Penney's is 1.89 miles from my house. I timed it on Friday and it took me 3 minutes. And I was aggravated to have driven so far only to find it closed. When was I gonna have time to get back down there?
Surprisingly there are many things I love about living here. I love that we can get to any friends house for a playdate in under 5 minutes. I love that if we go to library story hour or Kneehigh Naturalists at the Conservation Department or any of the wading pools or to see the snakes in the biology department at Truman University that we know 75% of the other people there. I love that Medman works about 8 seconds from home. I love that we fill up our cars with gas approximately every 6 weeks. I love that 3-year-old Big D knows how to get pretty much anywhere in town and can give me detailed directions while we drive. I love that I can run to the bank, the post office, the library and return a movie all in under a half hour.
And it is all good since if I don't feel like shopping at Walmart, the world wide web is at my fingertips and I can order absolutely anything I want on line.
Hmm, I bet I could order JC Penney's online and save my self the trip all the way down there....