Country Mouse/City Mouse

Never in a million years would I have described myself as a country girl. Not at all. Even though I lived in a rural area quite commonly known as “the country,” I felt like a city girl. In fact, I felt a weird sense of pride when, while catching up at a wedding a few months ago, my soon-to-be-famous LA-based casting assistant friend said, “I don’t see you as a country girl at ALL. You need to move to the city – that’s where you belong!” I was like, HA. I might have moved away from Chicago, back to the country, and my southern accent might be back in full force, but obviously I am not just fooling myself because a GENUINE CITY GIRL, the epitome of city girls, thinks that I am a city girl too.

And then a funny thing happened. I moved out of the country.

By most city people’s standards, I don’t even really live in a city now. I mean, it is technically a city – the City of Lynchburg – and it’s on decals and everything, but with a city population of just over 64,000 and a metro area population of just over 200,000, it’s a smaller city.

But, see, it appears that even in a small city like Lynchburg, people know how to mail things from their homes, and they know how to put their trash out for collection, and they know what happens when the power goes out.

These are things I had to ask about.

First off, I’ve never lived in a place that didn’t have cluster mailboxes for as long as I can remember. I know what to do with those, and I know where to put outgoing mail. Most cluster boxes have a slot for outgoing mail. But my townhouse has a little black mailbox next to the front door. I had to ask around before I learned that the hooks underneath the mailbox were for outgoing mail. Duh.

In the country, you have to take your own trash to the dump. Many country families have an old truck or car that’s specifically for hauling stuff and taking trash to the dump. So, throughout the week, you chuck your trash bags and boxes and stuff into the trash truck, and once a week or so you drive to the dump and throw everything in the big dumpster.

But now my trash gets picked up twice a week, and I have to put it out behind my patio, and it has to be in bags or, if there are boxes, they must be flattened. I had to ask about this too. So I have to remember when the trash is picked up and I have to remember to bag it, because if I randomly make a pile of boxes and milk jugs or whatever, the homeowner’s association won’t look very kindly on that.

Oh, and in the country? You have well water. And the well pump is electric. So if the power goes out, you have no water. And in my townhouse, the power goes out just about every time it storms, and I have to remember that really, it’s okay to flush the toilets, because I do in fact still have water.

There is a lot to learn.

Comments 1

  • I grew up in a suburb, but we are in a semi-rural area now, raising sheep, tending a garden, and harvesting from 8 different fruit bearing trees/shrubs.

    Our girls are country girls through and through, though they go to a elementary school that draws from a well to do area, so they are exposed to the best educational experience, and the Shenandoah Valley girl mentality (a little spoiled, what’s hip, etc).

    They don’t watch TV, except for the videos we check out from the library (Nat. Geographic, Lassie classics, etc) and our collection which includes two seasons of the Little House on the Prairie. They were initially confused by commercials when visiting their friends’ houses, but are just annoyed when they see them now.

    They’ve helped save baby lambs when my wife and I had given up. They are helping raise our English Shephard and have attended sheepdog trials so they can participate next year (the 8 year old, anyway).

    We read Small Farmer’s Journal together, and they want us to get draft horses to work the fields, making sure they can ride them as well. So we went to a draft horse exhibition in Amish country 2 weekends ago.

    Now it’s blueberry picking time and after that a walk down to the creek to see the progress of tadpoles -> frogs…

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