Tag Archives: small towns

The world is angry!

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I live in a small town. You know what they say about small towns: Big Hell!
Until recently, I was very content in my small town, living my life, enjoying
the odd social gathering and essentially knowing how my days would begin
and end. The last several months have been increasing my discomfort level
as I hear and see many acquaintances really get into the misery the rest of the
world seems intent on living.

My writing has always been a need for me. I cannot agree with people who say
they “love” to write, for that has never been my feeling. I need to write, I want
to write and get paid for it, but even though I don’t get paid for it, I still need
to do it every single day. Some days it is just a sentence in my head. Some
days I actually draft things out in a notebook the old-fashioned way, with pen
and paper and then I forget how important the particular prose felt in the
moment and I lose the paper, or the notebook until I am clearing off a particular
space and come upon it again.

The social media rants that I voluntarily read increasingly rob me of time and
energy and deplete whatever optimism lives in me; yet I find myself having to
really exercise discipline to sign off or at the very least, put my phone aside to
do other things. It is amazing, I rarely respond to posts even though many of
them stir deep feelings. I get a kick out of those who do because they often end
up saying things I am sure they regret. Not to mention getting “blocked” by the
administrators for offensive and crude language. I can’t entertain the idea of
ever being blocked so I simply do what many others do, read and move on.

I live in a small town that has a large quantity of expats. Although I lived in a
different country and learned its culture well, I am now living in my birth land
and identify more with it. I find that the typical expat (whether originating in
U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia or Africa) believes their new country is somehow
lacking and wants things to be just the way they were “back home”. This attitude
irks me but I remain silent because silence is the path to peace and understanding.

There are so many things that can be said about learning a new language, about
preparing mentally to make a huge move, especially when the one certain is that
wherever you go, there YOU are. I lived in Puerto Rico once. I do remember that
the absence of family and friends was a bit lonely, but it was also tremendously
liberating. I found that I developed some new (positive) traits by not being labeled
or thought of the way family and old friends can see and pigeonhole one. Rather
than wanting things the way they were in my past, I was thrilled to be living in a
completely different culture and learned to love it just the way it was.

I don’t really remember where I was going with this blog, but there it is. I guess
the lesson for today is that if you want to make a smooth transition into a place,
it is best to go gently and quietly into its spaces to first absorb and understand
and then to pitch changes if they are necessary or even wanted.

 

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Another Monday in December

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My little town is a typical rural place where most people have lived
all their lives and where life moves slowly and quietly. Every so often,
we get a new arrival who wants to shake things up a bit so that the town
will be more in keeping with their style rather than have them change a
bit to adjust to their new home! It happens often and I am usually left
with the impression that the new arrival has not properly researched the
place he came to live in, let alone the people who live there.

About five or six years ago, we had such an arrival. He was energetic and
sought to make every small mom-and-pop shop grow exponentially because this is
what he believed the owners wanted. Not only did he not succeed in his endeavor,
he left a bitter taste in the mouths (and hearts) of the people he encouraged
to follow his advice without really investigating all the facets of their
business or customers. He tried to apply a one-size-fits all kind of metric.

We have had a yearly cooking contest for the last 10 years or so. It was a
modest fund-raiser for a children’s group and everyone had fun organizing it.
That is, until the fun was taken out of the equation so that the cooking
contest could compete in the way the big cities do it. The proceeds which
were turned over to the group used to be small, maybe a few hundred dollars.
Not good enough, our new arrival proclaimed…we will make thousands of
dollars for the cause. And for a couple of years, that’s exactly what they
did. They didn’t, however, take into account how much more work it had become:
getting sponsors, judges, prizes, and 10 times the volunteers that were once
required. Earlier this year, the contest was held at a new venue, with lots
of volunteers and contestants but the atmosphere was heavy with resentment
and the final proceeds did not match (by a long shot) the anticipated amount.

It makes me very sad when newcomers don’t wait before they jump in. Now, the
energetic guy has taken a step back but I fear it is too little too late!