It is that time of year again when everyone in a small town is preparing to be either pissed off or thrilled that there are so many naive tourists (and locals) to give them the boost their business needs to stay afloat another year. Yep, it is Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvana. And I am so darn glad that I am not there.
Growing up there, I never seemed to fit in. I was one of the ones who talked horribly about it. It was a boring town with nothing to do. I had friends and we had fun, but there really wasn't a lot of options. At 13, I could easily walk into the local pool hall and buy cigarettes. When asked, "Are you 18?", I simply had to give him money and reply, "yes". For a small town where everyone knew everyone else, it sure was easy to hide that for years. I hated the lack of options. I always felt so trapped. I knew I would go off to college and move on.
Now, for those who love this small town, I'm not sure why. It is poverty stricken and run down. It is literally like the movie - the same thing every damn day. There are very limited places to buy clothes (Wal-Mart is not my idea of retail therapy). There are the same old restaurants you've been to a hundred times. And for a date night, you have got to get really creative, as there is not a whole hell-of-a-lot to do there. You could go bowling I guess. Do they still allow smoking inside? Nothing like smelling like an ashtray on your date!
I do see how some people enjoy the closeness of having a small community to support you - if they do. I see how the little town comes alive when someone is in need, or to raise money for wonderful things such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A writer for the Huffington Post stated that when he visited, people smiled, waved from cars, and everyone was friendly. When the hell did he visit and was he high? I've seen that - but non on a daily occasion. There are lots of friendly people there. But, there are also lots of individuals who would run you over in a heart beat if they thought it would better themselves. I guess you could get this almost anywhere you go though.
Maybe, it really is just me. Maybe I just don't have that "small-town" gene in me that allows me to enjoy that simple way of life. It could be that my desires to see the world prevent me from seeing the positive qualities about this small town. All I know, is that going back there is on the bottom of my list of places to live. Luckily, my true friends from there accept me, despite my discontentment for this lack-luster hole-in-the-wall.