While working at the McGill Drugstore, I come into contact with people from all over the world. Recently, there were folks from Maine, Connecticut, Paris, France, New York City, Montana, New Mexico, California, Utah and Dallas, Tx.
The conversations with them usually leads to what it was like living here in a small town so far away from ‘everything’. By that, they mean the stores and other so-called amenities. I tell them that we can be in several cities in 3-4 hours if necessary.
Medical access is a frequent topic. They are astonished when I tell them about being able to see specialists in several fields without a long wait and that with Life Flights we can be in Salt Lake, Reno, or Las Vegas in a short time. Some of them tell me that it takes weeks to see specialists in their city.
In comparing small town life vs. city life, I like to ask them how many minutes a day do they spend waiting for the traffic light to turn green or a jam on the freeway or how long it takes to get anywhere. Traffic is their biggest complaint about city life. Next is the fear of a crime happening to them.
I have to admit that I so miss the stores in the city, but they are not that far away and by not having them close by, I think it makes them seem more fun and exciting. Also, we know pretty much what we want and don’t end up with a lot of junk we don’t need.
The ones from the big cities are amazed at how many people we small town heathens know and are friends with. Most city folks have their own little circles of friends.
One story I like to tell them is that when we go into a store, the clerks usually know us and we know them. We visit and keep on many things, while getting our shopping done. I tell them of the time I stopped for gas at the Sagebrush station. I gave the clerk some money for gas and then went out and drove off. A week later I stopped to get gas and Ruth, the clerk, asked if I still wanted the gas I had paid for the week before. Only in a small town would that happen.
It all boils down to the fact that living in a small town may have some drawbacks but it has lots of things. Like, being on a more personal level with other people. When we go out in public, we pretty much know most of the people we come in contact with. In the city most everyone’s a stranger. Most are nice, but the personal feeling is not there.
A good example I remember is back in the 60’s I was working as an outside salesman, covering all of northern California from the Golden Gate to Oregon. I was returning from a trip late on a Friday night. I had driven from Eureka CA. and was crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge, when traffic stopped. After a long wait a motorcycle cop came by and said that there was a bad accident and traffic would be held up for at least an hour. What a feeling. You can’t move or do anything. Then some folks came by and asked me to roll down my windows and turn the local radio station KGO on. Soon everyone was visiting and some were dancing. It was a big party. I was talking with a couple and told them how nice it was that people were visiting and making new friends. The guy said “yeah and when this is over and traffic starts up again, these same folks will run over you if you get in their way. People can get along fine when not in a rush to get somewhere.”
I think that is the best explanation . We small towners are not competing with each other all the time.
So, all in all, I think it is best to live in a small town and visit the big city when necessary. I prefer the quiet and safety of a small town and the feeling of being among friends and people I know and trust.