duermemucho's diary

duermemucho's Diaryland Diary


why I like small towns

I've decided that I like my new town. There are certainly things I dislike about it, but you'll find that anywhere. It's nice here.

Small-town living in America is terribly underrated, especially by people my own age. I like the fact that in a town below a certain size, you can't guarantee that somewhere nearby there is a hidden cluster of people with whom you'll assuredly fit in, should you find them. Owl once said to me that she would love to live in New York because no matter what type of person you are, you'll be able to find someone else just like you. That is the precise reason why I would never live in New York or any other city of comparable size.

Compare that situation to, say, *blindly stabs at US map* Janesville, Wisconsin. I don't know the town, but I'd be willing to guess the Sikh jazz musician community in Janesville is pretty much nonexistent. If there are any Sikh jazz musicians there, they are without a safety net. They must do what they do with self-confidence and poise, and at the same time must adjust their own view to mesh with (if not necessarily match) that of their less-worldly peers.

That's the nicest part about living in a small town (well, that and the relative absence of human beings, which for me is a huge advantage in and of itself)...the lack of a safety net. Knowing that you are an individual at your own risk, and having to meet others on their own terms. I live in a town where, last month, a reader's letter to the newspaper honestly and openly claimed that the reason for high gasoline prices is the Democrats' unilateral stonewalling of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (how many factual errors can we find in that statement?) You cannot be uncertain of yourself in a place where such an opinion is in the mainstream. You must press forward knowing that it's possible that nobody has your back. It's isolating, but it's also immensely liberating to live in such an environment. It makes you realize what you're capable of doing.

I mention all this because I work with a transgendered individual whose sexual transformation becomes "official" tomorrow. Here, in Small Town, Washington, where the out-and-proud LGBT community could probably fit in my apartment. It would be trite and a little condescending to describe this person's actions as "brave", but I can't think of a better illustration of my point about small towns. It's exciting and empowering to think that we can be that self-assured, and that I live in a place where such self-assurance is laid bare by the simple fact that there aren't many people around to crowd the view.

6:37 p.m. - 2006-07-31


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