[rescue] OT: response to "small town"

der Mouse mouse at Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA
Fri Oct 7 16:59:21 CDT 2005

[Doesn't this belong on geeks@ instead of rescue@?  I don't feel I know
the lists' effective charters well enough to make that call myself.]

> I'll take a really small town over even a medium-sized city, any day.
> Even with the economic problems.

> City people seem to be all screwed up in the head somehow.

I dunno.  You must have lived in different cities than I.  Or perhaps
you just hung out in the wrong crowds when there.

> When they laugh, it isn't about anything funny.  Overcrowded,
> over-stimulated, too noisy, too smelly, too bright and brash, too
> rude, too dangerous, and that's accepted as the norm for some reason.
> It's okay to not be able to walk in the park at night without taking
> the risk of losing your life.  It's okay to have drug deals going on
> in your schools and on your street or just down the block.  It's
> normal to not know any of your neighbours, to be afraid all of the
> time behind multiple locks, bars, alarms, and guarded doors.  It's
> accepted etiquette for everyone to avoid eye contact with the people
> on the sidewalk around you.  A friendly "Howdy!" is cause to run
> quickly away.  It's normal to hear about someone, whose only error
> was that he made eye contact or said "Howdy!", being gunned down in
> the street.

None of this sounds like Montreal - the city I live in - except for the
drug deals, and (a) I don't see anything wrong with that (I hold that
drug laws are a perfect example malum prohibitum and, for the most
part, should be repealed) and (b) from what little I've learned of
small towns, there's lots of similar crap going on under the surface in
them too.  (I know someone who got sucked into that morass in a small
village.  Fortunately, her drug was a relatively mild one - alcohol -
and she's shaken it without being wrecked for life in the process.)  My
ex, a short, physically weak woman, didn't have any qualms about
walking home at 02:30 through downtown after working on a joint
US/Canada Mensa annual gathering (much to the shock of the US
participants, I might add).

It sounds even less like Ottawa, which I've been visiting on weekends
for the past two-plus months.  My gf lives there and routinely says hi
to strangers when we're out walking on the street.  We get a hi back,
more often than not, too.

Wanna come visit?

> That's not normal.  That's truly, seriously, SICK.

It can be as sick as..well, as it can be, and still be normal in the
sense of normative.

It's also normal in that that's exactly the sort of craziness that most
creatures get into when forced into the kind of population overcrowding
that most cities exhibit.  If we keep living in cities for long enough,
it'll get bred out of us, I suppose, but it seems a rather harsh price
to pay for a rather marginal benefit.

Cities don't _have_ to be harsh and ugly.  Montreal.  Amsterdam.
Ottawa.  Tromsx, for that matter - not very large, but definitely a
city (population in the tens of thousands) and if I could pick one
place I've lived to settle in, without constraints like immigration or
roots already put down, it would be Tromsx.

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