Friday, May 18, 2012

Five myths about country living

Oh look, this city boy's gonna tell us about country living already! Well go ahead, city boy!

Ahem. Well, even though I've lived in the city most of my life, my time in the country does offer a bit in the way of eye-opening misconceptions. I believe most city-folk (myself included) see the country as a peaceful place with untouched natural amenities and kind-hearted neighbors, but my experience varies from that a bit.

Don't get me wrong; I love this area and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I like to poke fun at some of the generalizations that I've always believed. So take this list with a grain of salt as my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek.

1. The country is quiet and peaceful.
Well, yeah, it is compared to the interstate highway I grew up next to, but it's not all songbirds and buzzing bees. Our neighbor has around 6 or 7 dogs, at last count, and they have this strange tendency to bark at every car that passes. At 3am. Gunshots are also a common sound, and I hear automatic gunfire at least once or twice a month.

2. The country is clean and pristine.
With hardly any trash dumping laws and very little enforcement, the sides of country roads are often littered with trash. I go out and pick up fast food containers at least once a week in our yard near the street, and there are several areas within a mile of us where you can't even see the ground because the trash is piled so high. This would probably happen even quicker in cities, but there are no clean-up crews out here.

3. The country is a safer place to live.
There was an unflattering episode of Intervention made about this area called Meth Mountain. Crystal Meth is not only a city problem, but it has become a HUGE rural problem as well. It's easier to hide meth labs in old barns and in our area, the county seat is about an hour away, so you can bet there aren't exactly a lot of patrolling squad cars up and down these roads. Plus, with drugs come lifelines to support those drug habits, such as theft and violence. We haven't experienced any of this first-hand yet, but we lock our doors at night.

4. The country air is fresh.
I grew up near the steel mills of northwest Indiana, so growing up, I thought people were joking when they said the sky was blue. But out here in the country, when you're taking a big long whiff of the clean country air, be prepared for a lung-full of burning plastic. With no burn regulations and a higher trash collection fee than the city, most of my neighbors have taken to burning their trash... plastic and all.

5. Country folks are kind and generous.
Again, it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round, but right now my wife and I are dealing with some neighbors who let their dogs run into our yard after our chickens and drive their cars through our yard because, as they put it, we're "from another place." I'm not trying to perpetuate any stereotypes of ignorant backwoods people or anything (because I hate the irony of that stereotype as well), but it just holds true in some cases.

So there you have it. I don't aim to talk anyone out of country living, but I'm having a little fun with what we've experienced so far. Accepting your home and its surrounding areas comes with both good and bad, and to me, it's all about realizing that the good far outweighs the bad.


  1. I totally understand your situation on #5. I come from a long line of generations that lived in Appalachia but by being raised in a city like Baltimore I am treated like an outsider.. or at least with a bit of suspicion by some of the locals. Our area is a mixture of good and bad. Have a state game warden that lives right behind our property but also some serious 'Justified' types that live up in the hills... scary folks.

    You mentioned no patrol cars... our township does not have a police dept.. just the county sheriff and the State Police who I have seen only on the turnpike and never on the back roads. That is a big shock to a lot of city folks I think, the fact that emergency vehicles can be as much as 30 minutes away.

  2. All of these things are true for us in rural Ohio, too.