City dwellers have some strange ideas about people who live in the countryside. The charm of a country life may attract suburbanites during holidays. But there are some things you’ll only know if you actually grew up in a rural area.
1. You don’t need an alarm clock
The rooster in your backyard wakes you up every morning at the crack of dawn. It doesn’t come with a snooze button either. Some of you would argue that roosters actually have a built-in snooze button. They’ll crow approximately every 2 minutes for about 8 cycles. But you’ll have little luck sleeping in.
2. You know your neighbors’ birthdays
The village isn’t like the city where neighbors don’t talk to each other. Even though people don’t exactly live right next door, you take the time to get to know your neighbors really well. Well enough to know when their birthdays are.
3. You catch up on local news at the local pub/bar
The community is scattered over a vast expanse of land. But, come weekend, everyone loves a tipple and catches up on the latest news at the local pub. Whether it’s jobs or someone’s had a baby, you’ll get to hear it here.
4. You have to plan for your grocery run
Unless you’re in a rather dense village and the corporations haven’t ignored your town, chances are you’ll have to travel a bit to get to the nearest grocery store. If the town is a good 30 minutes away, you had better well make sure you have your groceries for the week planned well in advance. The supermarkets are only open till 5:30 PM on weekdays and till noon on Saturday (if you’re lucky). When in doubt, you end up buying surplus provisions. It can always be thrown in the freezer.
5. You learn to become handy around the house
Getting a tradesman to come in and fix up the broken tap or the faulty lawnmower will only rob you of bragging rights at the pub. You end up asking your friends or just putting your mind to it and figuring out how it’s done. And once you’re done fixing it, you go back out to chop wood. What good is a fireplace without it? When in doubt, you use duct tape. If that doesn’t work, a staple gun or liquid nails (glue) will do the job just fine.
6. You are part of a close knit community and proud of it
We have a strong sense of community because there are only so many people that matter. Some of us have helped Mr. Brown herd his cattle and assisted the local junior soccer team in raising funds to keep the club going. Although we’re not exactly best mates with everyone, we do have a smirk on our faces every time we think of our community. Most of us are close enough to the community that we can spot a stranger a mile away. Let the staring games begin!
7. You learn to drive at a very young age
ATVs, motocross bikes, trucks, tractors, etc. are all just toys waiting for a master to commandeer them. With the limited number of hands available in the household to assist with chores, you learn to master these machines well before you actually reach the legal age to drive.
8. They think we shop at the farmers market
Farmers markets are pretend-markets for the suburban and city dwellers. Food reaches you through the same channels as everyone else: supermarkets. You’ll likely have a favorite local deli or butcher, but all other packaged foodstuff still comes from the supermarket. How else is one supposed to get carrots and bananas all year round? However, the barter system is alive and well in the country and still very much legitimate currency. Veggies are swapped between neighbours. You can trade wild rabbits or ducks for farmed pigs with your farmer friends. Eggs are traded for lemons.
9. You have a veggie patch even if you farm
This is more of a charm and a privilege of having more land available to you. Those apartment dwellers would never be able to get away with it. Your veggie patch gives you instant access to herbs and other condiments like tomatoes and chillies just in case you forgot to pick them up in the last grocery run. Besides, it doesn’t get any fresher than plucking the veggie off the vine.
10. You don’t have to lock the door to your home
The odds of someone breaking in are so slim that it really isn’t worth a bother trying to lock the door behind you. Your property is remote enough that anti-social elements dare not venture anywhere near it.
11. You have to drive everywhere
Unless you’re out for a stroll on your acreage, this one is in fact true. Distance between dwellings and amenities make driving a necessity. Even if you were to give your neighbor, whose birthday you know so well, a Mars bar slice, you would have to drive over, because they live 3 miles away. That being said, I’ve come across a fair few cyclists in country towns.
12. We love having guests “pop in”
“Popping in” starts with the obligatory “Heeellllooooooo,” 40 decibels higher than one would normally speak. That’s just in case the person you’re popping in to see is out in the massive backyard feeding the chicken. If there’s no answer, you’re fully endorsed to let yourself in through the back gate to see if they’re in the back shed. I said back shed, because the front shed is for fixing things and the back shed is for chicken feed and pick-axe. And don’t worry, the giant Boxer, Alsatian, Rottweiler dog is there for show. They’re a friendly lot, unless you’re the town veterinarian. If so, RUN! If not, just let yourself in the house, which is unlocked, and make yourself a cup of coffee. The neighbor probably just popped out for more milk and should be home soon.
13. You prefer quiet time
Unlike urban life which is on the go all the time, you have the privilege of putting some quiet time aside for yourself. No, this isn’t isolation. Just time to reminisce and perhaps meditate and enjoy the peace within and around you. The best time for quiet contemplation is at night. In the country, where there is a distinct lack of street lighting, the stars seem to shine brighter. You can see the “arms” of our galaxy. Put on your stove top kettle, make a cup of coffee (or tea), take out the deck chair, and watch the stars (and occasional satellite) while sipping your coffee with a homemade cookie to munch on.
14. You are culturally in sync with the world
It’s the 21st century and the great invention that is internet, shortly after television, has made its way to rural towns. That’s right, city-slickers, we have the same sort of access to information and programs as you do. While you’re reading this we’re already thinking of whether to go to Bordeaux or Burgundy for our upcoming vacation in France.
15. You know that not everyone from the country is a horse rider
This has got to be the most common misconception among suburban and city dwellers. The first thing they think of about rural lifestyle is horse riding. Practically everyone has cars these days, and horses have been replaced by ATVs for the most part. Unless you’re part of the local pony or rodeo club or are a horse breeder, chances are you are unlikely a horse rider. The movie “city slickers” has a lot to answer for.
Featured photo credit: Australian Apprenticeships via australianapprenticeships.gov.au