Small towns. No skyscrapers or significant skyline, just starry skies.
I grew up in a small town; then I started moving. The time between moves has decreased while the town size has increased. Once I got out of the first one, I never looked back.
Population of 10,000 for 15 years
60,000 for 3 years
150,000 for 2 years
250,000 for 2 years
and now moving back to a town of 11,000
Am I breaking the cycle or is it starting over?
I watched a movie when I was a youngin. It was one of my sister’s favorite movies: The Perfect Man. She played it over and over and over again. In the movie, Heather Locklear (#whereisshenow?!) moves her girls to a new city every time she has a bad breakup. From that movie, I learned moving around a lot isn’t a good thing. It was reinforced going through job interviews and I was asked, “I see here you’ve moved a bit. Military family?”. Nope.
People are friendly in small towns. While walking down to the street, the window cleaners stopped to ask me how I was doing.
On this day in November, it is 60+ degrees. Who would have thought that we would be shedding our coats this far into the year. The postman comes in the coffee shop and jests with the baristas about not being able to figure out his new smartphone.
The internet doesn’t work and people are too friendly to tell the staff. There aren’t many outlets (I have yet to locate one) but that is not the point of this coffee shop. Why would one need to plug in their devices when the goal of this coffee shop is communication?
“Can I get a refill?” –Customer
“Sure! That will be a couple bucks.” –Barista
“How does two sound?” –Customer
“I’ll take it. Both of them.” –Barista
The business man locates the one outlet in this shop halfway across the room. And then he does something you can only do in small towns: he leaves his phone plugged in and walks away. That phone isn’t going anywhere.
College students work part-time at the coffee shop to chip away at some of their debt. They rush in between classes to get their free caffeine fix before jetting off to fill their minds with information that will supposedly help in the real world.
I don’t care for coffee but ironically, coffee shops are among my favorite places on this earth. Perhaps it is the espresso brown paint, the subtle indie music, or the atmosphere when you can be around people but not have to talk to people. The environment lends itself perfectly for people watching. I can escape into my noise cancelling headphones while creating life stories for all the passersby, searching for inspiration for my next essay.
Big cities are vibrant. I feel destined for big cities-cities big enough to have the infrastructure to support a mass transit system I can get lost on, a place where they have trams and accents, a place that has a music scene other than country or dance club music. A place where everyone is different and everyone fits in.
Will this ever be my new home? My place of residence yes, but my home? What makes a house a home? Thanks to a plethora of artists-Michael Buble, Jonnyswim, Phillip Phillips, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Bon Jovi, to name a few-home is “wherever I’m with you” or the place you can go back to. Most artists can agree that home is not just a physical place but rather a state, feeling, or emotion. It’s what’s waiting for you at the end of the lonesome road. It’s up to you to determine whether that is a person, place, or thing. That is your home.
I don’t know how long I may be here in this small town or how long until it really feels like my home. I may be wandering hopelessly for a bit on that proverbial road but I will make the most of it. And I will learn.
I will learn to love the skies I’m under.