Recently I went insane and held myself up in my room for a month with a couple of cases of Clif bars and some cartons of cigarettes. Surprisingly, this does not improve your income or ability to be rent. These habits are also seen as warning signs and reasons to get help, apparently. So for the time being I’m in my rural hometown of Lincoln University, PA. A town so small that they didn’t even actually name it; there’s a small school nearby that we just used as a name. There also isn’t an actual town as much as there is a vague collection of homes. We literally do not have a store, the store is in Landenberg which is the nearby larger town. You have most likely never heard of this town either.
1. Asking twelve-year-olds if they can spare a boogie is frowned upon and often does not yield the intended results.
2. Bees and Wasps are everywhere and they will attack you, essentially it’s the mugging of rural America except screaming and throwing your wallet rarely works. Also muggers usually don’t hide in the grass and wait for you while you mow the lawn. (At least not in my experience).
3. Drinking outside is appropriate and no one will say anything to you, because there is no one to say anything to you, because there is no one.
4. You have the ability to start a fire and crowd around it like Dances with Wolves. In fact it’s really the only thing you have the ability to do and is seen as the primary social gathering tool. efforts to implement in a metropolitan setting have not been successful, except for hobos from the 80’s.
5. Gun shots are still ignored but it’s usually a deer and the accuracy is greatly improved due to hunters not commonly holding guns sideways.
6. Doing anything requires an effort. It currently takes me 10 minutes by car to get to the nearest place that sells things and 25 minutes to get to the nearest place that sells things that will make you intoxicated.
7. The people you thought would never leave this town never left this town. Be prepared for awkward conversations about weird things. “What are you up to?” is not an appropriate question because their Lowe’s or McDonald’s uniform makes it redundant.
8. Unlike every indie film about going home no one will care that you’re back. Also, you won’t have a nemesis to compete with over the popular girl you had a crush on. They’re married and she’s pregnant with her second kid.
9. Drunk driving is frowned upon but a near necessity. When the idea of public transportation is as laughable as putting a man on the sun you tend to have few options. Combine that with the fact that the nearest bar is a 25 minute drive and you can do the math.
10. Black People are a myth. I’ve been home for a month and with the exception of the marathon sessions of Everybody Hates Chris and my family members I have not seen a single black person. I’m also pretty sure that people still think colored is the appropriate vernacular but I haven’t tested the waters. (This fact is made even more odd due to the fact that the college that the town uses for a name is the first degree granting historically black college.)
11. Gas stations are mecca. If you need any of the basic needs such as snacks, cigarettes or coffee, you will be at the gas station frequently and for some reason they will still card you even though you’ve been buying cigarettes from them for 7 years. Not to mention the fact that the clerk graduated with you.
12. If you get hurt dress your own wounds. Hospitals out here are more dangerous than having a meth dealer sew you up. I’ve never heard of someone getting mrsa from a meth dealer.
13. Drugs are private affairs. In the city you’ll see at least one person on drugs every hour that you are outside of the apartment. In the suburbs you can rent a place for the cost of a carton of smokes, which makes everyone able to do their vices at their leisure. (also no crack, only meth and opiates)
14. You get to see the inside of people’s homes. I’ve gone entire city friendships without ever seeing the inside of someone’s apartment. You just meet at a bar, park or restaurant. Here you go to a house because where the hell else can you god?
15. Free time does not equal productivity. You are not Thoreau and this is not Walden. Most of your time will be spent watching Netflix, pacing around in the dark, and eating random things from the cupboard.
16. It is really fucking super dark, and there is no escape from the circle of hell that is the country.