Country boy, City boy

I’ve always thought that my ideal place to live would either be out in cottage country with woods and a lake, or right downtown in a vibrant exciting city in a high rise with a huge window with a great view. And I always thought that was sort of contradictory of me. But visting Vicki’s friend Jonesiexxx, (who, by the way, lives in a cool neighbourhood in a vibrant exciting city with a huge window with a great view), I think I figured it out.

One of the things I liked living in the country was the quiet and the closeness to nature, but another thing I liked was the sense of belonging to a small community. As we walked down the street, and Jonesiexxx was recognized by people at her neighbourhood butcher and green grocer (yes, real stores with real specialties, not monster supermarkets), I realized that was something that the tiny village of Rupert Quebec and her corner of Toronto had in common – a small community that you could belong to.

Funny that something like that would appeal to an introvert like me. My fear is that if I did live in a place like that, I *wouldn’t* get to know the community and miss out on the whole point of living in a place like that. Fortunately, I have Vicki, who would know everybody in a 5 block radius within two days of our arrival.

3 thoughts on “Country boy, City boy”

  1. That sense of community was something Maddy mentioned, several times, about her area of Philadelphia. I don’t know what makes some places “communities” and some just places to live. It’s probably partly having people who have lived there for a long time, but there are places with that, that settle into insularity without becoming a community.

  2. It’s funny. I lived outside of from 10-17, and off and on (5 years of university in NB) until I moved here at the age 28.

    For most of that time, particularly the first stint, I hated it. Couldn’t stand being out in the sticks (no cable, even, and a party line! in 1984! how ancient!), hated the hick town with its stupid main street and not a whole lot else, hated having to be driven everywhere, etc.

    Now that I’m living in the big city (well, Waterloo isn’t big, but the Tri-City area beats the Halifax Regional Munincipality hands-down in terms of both population and access to services)… I kind of miss living in Truro. I liked being a businessman there, and knowing somebody who can do virtually anything… need business cards? No problem, I’ll call somebody I know at Atlantic Envelopes. Signage or stamps? I’ll call Sid at Sid Sells Signs. Haircut? There’s Mike down the street. Contract work to be done? Here’s Elmer’s number. Coffee spot? Well, I knew most everybody at Tim’s, but if franchises aren’t your speed there’s The Wooden Hog down the road, I know the owners a bit, they’re nice. I was in the militia and I met my Grade 8 Math teacher in the All Ranks Mess, for chrissake (he was a Lieutenant Colonel).

    While Waterloo isn’t exactly fast-paced, it’s not as laid back as Truro, or even Halifax. I don’t know anybody here, and it’s hard to get to know people – there’s just too damn many of them. It’s noisy and you have to bus or drive absolutely everywhere, and just going to the mall is a half hour drive involving a bygod expressway. Even at my parents’ it was only 15 minutes, and you didn’t have to take the highway if you didn’t want to. When I lived right in town, it was a 5 minute jaunt, or you could walk it in half an hour or so.

    I’m an introvert, and I don’t find it funny at all that it would appeal to you. I suspect you might even be a bit less of an introvert in such a situation. I was.

  3. My neighborhood in Philadelphia is very much like a small town in both the good ways (people talk to each other on the street, watch out for each other, have local institutions that are parts of their lives) and the less good ways (people know who has overnight visitors, who sells drugs, etc.). It’s got solid geological/urban boundaries — the Schyullkill River, Wissihickon Park, Roosevelt Blvd and US Route 1. We even have opposums and groundhogs locally, and a couple of people have seen foxes and raccoons (I’ve seen the opposums in my backyard and the groundhogs near the local train station). Deer would be a possibility along the river, and are known to live about a mile away.

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