For all intents and purposes I am now living in Stars Hollow. If you don’t catch that reference, shame on you. I demand that you catch up on the fabulousness that is “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix tonight. Seriously though, small towns are particularly good at marking holidays and shifts in seasons with rituals and events. We had a scarecrow festival. Really. It’s charming and lovely.
Having been exposed to the concept of small-town America through television shows, I now see the storylines and the characters’ motivations from a whole new perspective. Obviously these insights are the generalized musings of a newcomer looking in. Oh! That’s why love lives were so interwoven in a fairly insular community. I also understand why so much was at stake for a high school basketball team in “One Tree Hill.” You’re literally cheering for your town’s history and identity. If you’ve ever watched that show, I give so much respect to Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) for staying in the tiny town with his estranged biological dad, who was his mother’s high-school sweetheart; the man who never acknowledged him but chooses to love/pressure his half-brother Nathan (James Lafferty) instead. Whew, that run-on sentence does not even begin to capture the complicated relationships explored in each episode.
My current setting is wholesome, polite and reserved, literally everything I hope for in a place. I know that some may interject that beneath the veneer of civility there may be ignorance still. Of course, any smile or sneer can be a cover for prejudice. I just want to see the good in people and believe that they are interacting with each other with an open heart.
The everyday reality of living in a smaller town also means that the pace is slower and there are fewer choices. Decisions are made easier when there are five beauty salons instead of forty. It’s strange that these banal details mean so much to me but I never feel settled till all of that is sorted. The first thing I wanted to do after being discharged from the hospital post-delivery was to get my eyebrows waxed. After such a life-altering experience I wanted to ground myself with the mundane. Plus, caring for these aspects of your physical appearance is so important. When I was living in Thailand I literally had patches in my eyebrows because I refused to go a year without having them shaped. These smaller negotiations are all part of finding your place and embedding yourself in the midst of it all. After all, who wants to be a spectator of their own life? Participate and be a part of something! Plus, hair salons have the best gossip.