I live in Angwin. When I tell most people this, they think I’m saying “England”, which I’m not sure says more about my speech or more about their hearing.
It’s technically a town. It has a post office, a grocery store, a tiny hardware store, bookstore for the college, a credit union, and a gas station. There’s a multitude of neighborhoods down rutted, long ago paved roads and hairpin turns, houses in the midst of quiet, green scenery. But, it does not have any stoplights. There are no sidewalks once you get past where the college and aforementioned businesses are located. Verizon claims most of the residents’ cell phone service, and sometimes that is a little sketchy. The rent is cheaper.
I grew up in Stockton, which is by any means a city, if not now a large city. Most things are within a ten to fifteen minute drive, if that. There are restaurants, shopping, several banks, two shopping malls (across the street from each other, don’t ask) and okay-paved roads—people pass through and since the road gets bad they realize they’re in Stockton—but you get the picture. City vs. small town. Probably a large difference.
Therefore, I’ve had to slowly learn some things not to panic about living here. Here are just a few of my observations.
1. If the air smells strongly like something burning, don’t worry. It’s just a pile of wood and brush your neighbor is burning on their land. No big deal.
2. If there’s a couple of deer on the lawn when you get to your house, it’s okay. They’ll either run away when your headlights shine on them or stare at you while you go to your door.
3. I used to wonder why people backed into their driveways. Less than a week after I moved into my apartment, I nearly got hit when a car came around the blind corner and slammed on their brakes, while I frantically tried to punch my transmission from reverse to drive.
I always back into my driveway now.
4. My mailbox is relatively far from my apartment. I have to cross the street and walk down about twenty feet to get to it (I could be completely off-base on twenty feet, be warned). This panicked me a little at first, if you might remember the aforementioned blind corner, and I leave my house when the sun is just coming up and get home when it’s dark. Flashlight on iPhone, jogging across and running in the shoulder is my solution. Or just not checking it until it’s convenient. One of the two.
5. Because of the aforementioned lack of sidewalks, a lot of people walk a little closer to the center of the road than I feel comfortable with (especially because of the also aforementioned blind corners). When I come upon people walking on the wrong side of the road, walking their dog when it’s dark and they are wearing dark clothing and the only thing I can see is blonde hair, it’s going to cause a slight bout of “OH NO!” and slamming my brakes although I’m only driving about 30 mph.
There are probably more than these. But ultimately, I enjoy living in Angwin. It’s quiet, it’s quirky, it’s unique, it’s a place you tell stories to other people about and a place you exchange stories about with people who either do or have lived there. It’s the place I spent my college career. It’s where I live.
Do you live in a small town or a big city? What pros and cons do you notice? Do you like where you live? Let me know in the comments.