My friend John is moving from Cambridge, MA to some tiny little town on the Illinois/Iowa border whose name I can’t remember — possibly because I don’t believe he ever told me. The move is on account of his academic wife getting a job at the local college — and seriously, if you think you’ve got it bad on the employment front, you have no idea until you start looking for a job teaching anthropology.
In any case, the very first thing he said to me as he was mournfully relaying the news was, “There’s not a Starbucks or a Whole Foods for at least a hundred miles around.”
What I couldn’t figure out was whether Hugh was making fun of the small town guy or the big city yuppie fuck.
For one thing, it seems… highly ignorant to blithely assume that Small Town, USA doesn’t have a cafe that serves iced lattes. Is the idea that rural areas and small towns are populated exclusively by uncultured dumbasses?
For another, and relevant for blog like this one, is the notion that one would move from some metropolis to Small Town, USA, and still expect to have everything one had in the big city. What kind of a provincial moron thinks that?
My wife and I talk all the time about leaving the rat race behind, finding some lovely Small Town, USA, and moving there. We know we would have to leave some of the things we take for granted behind. Not many Small Towns have the opera, for example. Perhaps the selection of restaurants will be limited. Maybe finding gourmet cheeses will be more of a challenge.
But one thing we’re pretty sure of is that we wouldn’t be walking around Small Town, USA going, “Where the hell is Whole Foods?” That strikes me as provincialism of the worst sort.
Furthermore, my time in real estate has afforded me the ability to meet some of the most sophisticated, worldly, intelligent, and savvy people from all kinds of Small Town, USA’s. One woman I remember clearly was one of the best-dressed people I have ever met, who would have fit in perfectly in any chablis-and-brie gathering in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She carried herself with an innate grace, wit, and culture and was the COO of the dominant commercial brokerage in her local market in rural Alabama.
I’m frankly not sure where the provincialism of the cityfolks comes from. I just can’t imagine it’s anyplace good.