In the spirit of Buzzfeed and the general ethos of blogging at present, I would like to begin this post with a list.

You know you live in a small town when…

1. Your customers for lunch show up at your other restaurant for dinner.

2. You run into your “regulars” all over town. They always seem surprised to see you.
3. Going grocery shopping consists of 2 parts socializing and 1 part buying food.

4. “Downtown” is Main Street.

5. Your yoga students show up for dinner, and your dinner customers show up for yoga.

6. When you walk into the local coffee shop, it takes 30 minutes to get to work, because you have to stop and greet everyone already there.

7. When you throw a party and invite people from various parts of your life, there is no need to make introductions.

8. Going to the “City” (Burlington) is an excursion you indulge in about once a month.

9. You expect greetings from strangers, and find it odd when people don’t say hello.

10. At least a couple times a week, someone you know drives past you as you’re walking to work and offers you a ride.

11. Everyone talks about their garden like most people talk about the weather.

12. No one calls you a hipster when they see you a. fermenting things, b. knitting or crocheting, c. baking, d. biking, or e. wearing flannel.

Soon-to-be homemade sauerkraut.
Above all, it is a small, small world when you live in a small town. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, I live for those coincidences and connections. On the other, I hate gossip, nosy neighbors and unattainable anonymity. For better, for worse, or for bizarre, I currently reside in Middlebury, Vermont, and that deserves a poetic tribute…

An Ode to Small Towns

Oh, small towns,
I can’t decide if I love or hate you.
You are full of people who compulsively read Front Porch Forum,
Scanning for nuggets of gossip to purloin,
or petty arguments to join.
Still, your characters rival those of the Big City—
Where else will my neighbor ride his tractor down the road,
Wearing a cowboy hat and white Santa beard as he goes?
Oh, small towns,
I can’t spend a day on your streets without running across a friend, or twenty-two.
If I have news in the morning,
They’ve all heard it by noon.
If I see Main Street I’ve seen all there is to see,
That is, everything but the dump, the gym, and the local brewery.
A night out with friends often ends with drinking tea.
Oh, small towns,
By your community I feel supported-
Strangers offer rides into town
When the rain is pouring.
Yet at the end of the day
When I look around,
I see all the same faces,
Hear all the same sounds.
What you lack in variety you make up for in warmth,
But even so, small towns,
I think my time with you must be short.