Thursday, February 07, 2013

On Birds and Nests and Eggs in Nests

I'll get all romantic about the small town thing. I love the real Main Street and the avenues of shabby Victorians and their towering oaks. I love the Vs of snow geese honking overhead and the red cows lumbering across meadows damp with melting snow. The other day I saw a real bluebird float down from a wire and land in a tuft of dried wildflowers. I almost died. I've never seen a bluebird before and this bird was really blue, so bright he was almost turquoise and with a vivid orange chest. I think it was an Eastern Bluebird. Here's a picture of one.

So I love bluebirds and open fields and old houses but there are a few things about small town life that I can really do without. For one thing, this morning I was driving through town and every vacant building I passed I thought would be a fantastic location for a Starbucks. I would do anything for a decent cup of coffee with a bunch of flavored syrup in it that costs five dollars. My grandmother made me an instant Folgers decaf at her house the other day and it was like drinking warm, brown water. Did not satisfy me one bit. I may have to drive thirty minutes south to the nearest 'bucks to get an espresso fix.

The other thing I don't love about small town life is that everyone you meet wants to know who you're related to and how and then it turns out that they know all your family's business and scandal going back to at least the 1930s, AT LEAST, and then they will immediately judge you based on how your great grandfather cheated their great grandfather in a card game during the Great Depression and how your great great second cousin twice removed was the town whore and an alcoholic and gave a bunch of people syphilis during the roaring 20s or some such nonsense, so that must naturally mean that you too are a lying, cheating, drunken slut too 'cuz your whole family just ain't no damn good.

This morning I tried to take my poor little innocent two year old, who has never been drunk or promiscuous, to story time at the library and the children's librarian put me through a lengthy interrogation, since I was clearly not from around these parts and of course it turns out that she knows of my mother because when my mother was nineteen (she's almost 60 now) my mother briefly dated the man that is the librarian's common law husband (they've been living together for like 30 years). Well that was it. The librarian had it out for us from then on out. I'm not even kidding. She was in such a snit. She actually made a comment to me about what a wild bunch my mother used to run around with and I was like, well, that was a very long time ago and I can promise you that I'm not like whomever this wild bunch was.

The funny thing is that my mother has told me for years about this guy she dated. We will call him William Faulkner, for reasons known only to me and for the purposes of this story. Anyway, he was a drug dealer and a big burn-out and he and my mom went out a few times and were getting intimate but it turned out that poor William Faulkner had a weenie that was so small that the deed could not be done and I guess this left a very lasting impression on my mother because she has told me about it at least ninety times throughout the course of my life and my mother can really tell a story. She likes to add a lot of detail, one of which was that William Faulkner's goods reminded her of a tiny egg in a bird's nest, so here I am at Toddler Time in the children's library and all I can think about is that this woman in front of me has gone home to that egg in that nest for the past thirty some years and I wonder if in those thirty years if William Faulkner has been able to work around his shortcomings and get the deed done with the children's librarian. And then I think, well, if it's true that William Faulkner is so unendowed, then maybe that's why the children's librarian has such a chip on her shoulder.

So let's just put this one in the "cons" section of small town life. You don't want the kid's librarian being shitty to your kid because your daughter's grandmother once tried unsuccessfully to have sex with the librarian's boyfriend who has a small ding dong. I guess what I'm saying here is that in a small town you just aren't afforded the mutual levels of privacy that I prefer. 

9 comments:

leslie said...

I feel your pain. I recently moved back to my tiny hometown, where everyone knows and/or is related to everyone else...I miss city life and privacy!

Dawn said...

I hope Baby Lawns will enjoy the snow! It seems against the librarian code of ethics to be mean to an innocent child, but at least we solved the mystery as to why. Next time you see her you should sweetly mention your mom recalled "a little" thing or two about her husband.

Melanie said...

I've lived in a big city for most of my life, but I also spent 6 years living in a tiny little town in Arkansas (population - 300 and some odd). Believe me when I say, I moved back to a giant metropolis the minute I turned 18, and I haven't looked back!

I raised my kids to adulthood without subjecting them to small-town life. In fact, I would consider myself guilty of child abuse if I had made my kids go through some of the shit that I had to put up with. OK, I'll stop ranting now. It's just that your (very funny and very well-written) post brought back some deeply suppressed memories! Time to put them back in the attic where they belong......

JoeinVegas said...

Yup, big cities for me, even without the cows and pretty birds.

Debbie Davis said...

Thanks for the huge laugh, V. As you know, this one is close to my heart! ; ) I can't tell you how much joy I derive from your humorous life tales! More times than not your posts manage to turn a ghastly work day into a walk in the park. WLNM is my go-to place for a quick fix!

Miss Kitty said...

The other thing I don't love about small town life is that everyone you meet wants to know who you're related to and how and then it turns out that they know all your family's business and scandal going back to at least the 1930s, AT LEAST, and then they will immediately judge you based on how your great grandfather cheated their great grandfather in a card game during the Great Depression...

Jesus, that is the truth, WL. I'm shaking my head & laughing because yes, that's a small town no matter where you go. My "novel" is even based on some of this stuff.

Thanks for this wonderful post. I really enjoy your writing, even if it makes me say, "Dammit! I can't even approach this level of poignant & funny." :-)

Hugs to you, Baby Lawns, and Mr. Lawns.

wendywc said...

This is so hilarious. I've always liked your sense of humor, but this one definitely had me (and my husband) rolling. Now I know you must've gotten that sensibility from your mom if she told a story like that. ;-)

Anonymous said...

where are you? Hope everything is all right.

Anonymous said...

your abscence has me worried; hope all is well!

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