America’s big little secret

By The Columbia Chronicle

WHOA, Nellie! I think some of you may have it all wrong. When people ask me where I came here from, and I say, “A small farming community out in the country,” the response is the same 99% of the time: They wrinkle their noses and say, “Really, must have been boring as hell, huh?”

I just want to say, “Not at all!”

Those of you who think that the excitement and lights of the city must be a lifeboat to us poor, bored country bumpkins, you are mistaken. Sure, the city is nice, but so is the country, and a lot of people here in Chicago stereotype it. Just because country music might not have the most uplifting lyrics in the world doesn’t mean the people connected to it are corn-fed dullards who do nothing but fish, hunt and drink beer.

Since moving to the city from the country, I’ve found several pros and cons, as any human being would. Pros include meeting a wider range of people, who are ethnically, culturally, and socially diverse; there’s much to be entertained by, lots to see and draw and many opportunities.

It’s nice here, but there ARE many cons. Having been here almost two years, I have become a meaner, less patient person. When people on the streets won’t stop bothering you for money, when junkies come up to you and start screaming obscenities in your face for no reason and taxi drivers run you down practically every day when you attempt to cross the street, you just get pissed at people. It’s a fact of life.

In the country, life is “slower” and because of lower population, not as many people beg for money, and there are no taxi drivers. Most people in the country will wave at you when you drive by, whether they know you or not. People in the country make eye contact with you when you walk down the street.

My brothers and sisters make excuses not to come to the city. I guess they are just used to open spaces and clean air.

People think it must be boring in the those wide open spaces they call “country,” but maybe they just have never been shown a good time there.

Have you ever gone skinny-dipping on a hot summer night? Ever driven back into the woods with your friends, built a huge bonfire, tuned your radios to the same station and had a big ol’ “beverage” party? Ever ridden your bike down a back country road at 3 a.m. in the mist and moonlight and been able to see every single star in the sky, without fear of being harassed or mugged? Ever been able to sit on your front porch sipping iced tea and listening to nothing but the crickets and thunder? Ever been creeking, canoeing, barn-rope swinging, or played hide-n-seek in the corn for the hell of it?

The country is also a wonderful place to go on vacation, never the dull wasteland that it is often portrayed as on television. There are cows to pet, horses to ride, lots of space for pets and children to play in, and fresh plant-produced oxygen-rich air to breathe.

I’m not putting down the city at all, but I am just trying to expand the minds of those who think that the city is all there is. The country, that large space that is waiting beyond these four walls, is a beautiful place to live and visit. Why do you think rich people have country homes? So they can detox themselves of the city, relax, slow down, and enjoy the space on earth that we were blessed with. Enjoy the city, but give the country a try. I am thankful that I have the best of both worlds. The next time I answer the question “Where do you come from?” I think I will just simply resolve to say, “A great place.”