A funny thing about living in a small town is that no matter where you go you run into someone you know … EVERYWHERE. Living in larger metropolitan areas for so many years, I had become used to the anonymity of my environment. My first experience with this was in the summer of 1994, when I left Texas and moved to Chicago for my first real job out of college. It never really occurred to me that I knew no one— not one soul. I had no one to call if I got into a bind. It didn’t bother me but it bothered my mom, a lot. And it wasn’t long before I made friends. But the idea of knowing no one, it’s a little frightening to me now.
Since moving back to small-town America, I’ve once again become accustom to seeing someone I know everywhere I go. At the grocery store, post office, bank, hardware store, every restaurant, etc. Sometimes I miss the anonymity of the big city, especially when I don’t want to do my hair and makeup, or if I’m in a crabby mood and don’t want to talk to anyone. However it’s a good trade when you are short on cash and the restaurant owner says you can pay me later; or when your kid wakes up on Saturday with pink eye and you can call your doctor at home (and he’s listed) and ask for him to call in a prescription. My favorite recent incident: our lawnmower croaked in the middle of mowing my front yard. Our neighbor watched us struggle, and then offered to mow the rest for us. We took him up on it. It’s those little acts of kindness and the belief that it all works out in the end that is part of the Arcadian Experience.