As nice as visiting a small, southern town can be, growing up in one is an entirely different story. I grew up in Barnesville and my childhood was filled with busybody neighbors, steaming hot summers, and church, and more church, and wait. . .still church. Although I do love my hometown, here are my top ten reasons why some days I wish I grew up literally anywhere BUT Barnesville.
1. It’s in the middle of nowhere
That’s right. Look around. All you’ll see for miles and miles is a whole lot of nothing.
The house I grew up in was built on a cow pasture. Literally. There were actual cows that lived on the other side of the barbed-wire fence. There was not a lot to do for fun, especially for the non-outdoorsy types such as moi, and there was absolutely nothing within walking distance. To this day the hot spot to hang out at is the Hardee’s parking lot.
2. Everyone knows everyone
That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, it definitely is. . .in theory. Some days I pray to meet a stranger, just to talk to someone who doesn’t know generations of my family’s business. It’s nice to be unknown sometimes.
I can’t tell you how often I get stopped on the sidewalk by people who I’ve never seen or talked to before in my life, who somehow know me and just want to “catch up.”
I can’t stand small talk. The whole time I’m thinking what are we catching up for? We are friends on facebook. You know everything already.
Which brings me to the next item on my list.
3. There are no secrets
Gossip is the lifeblood of a small town, probably because there is nothing else for anyone to do. Everyone who stops me to “catch up” really just wants to mine me for personal information they can tell their friends while they’re sitting on their front porch in the evening having a cocktail.
Trust me when I say that if you’re from a small town like Barnesville and you do something that you don’t want anyone to know about, chances are it will be the top story of the rumor mill almost before you even did the thing. It’s freaky.
4. People think I’m stupid because of my accent
I travel sometimes, and when I meet new people that aren’t from the South the reaction to my accent is inevitably surprise at the fact that I can speak in full sentences. Be warned America: Say the word “Ya’ll” one time and you’re labeled a hick for life.
5. Property is crazy expensive (It’s ridiculous)
I’m at the point in my life where I’m thinking about getting my first house. So, being from Barnesville, I naturally called my neighbors to find out what’s for sale so I could see about getting the friends and family discount. (Small town perk, everyone if friends and family)
Guys. It’s all $300,000 or more, for houses at least thirty minutes from any kind of civilization.
The houses aren’t even that nice; or most of them are considered historical landmarks so you aren’t allowed to renovate them. I’m all for preserving history, but that’s a little extreme in my opinion.
6. The humidity and the FREAKING GNATS
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Barnesville in the summer is like living in Satan’s armpit. Hot, sticky, and depressing.
That’s why you always see southern people at the lake. There’s nowhere else to go cool off. We’re too poor to have pools. We don’t have a choice.
The gnats aren’t great either. They come in black clouds, thousands of them, and they like to fly into eyes and mouths and noses. They do it on purpose just to spite me. I’m convinced.
7. The weather is completely unpredictable
Last Monday we had rain in the morning with the temperature at a nice 55 degrees Fahrenheit, snow flurries at lunch when the temp dropped to 32, then the snow stopped and it was windy for an hour or two before the day ended with sparse clouds and a foggy pink sunset. I wish I was making this up.
8. There are no jobs for teens
If you are a high school student in Barnesville and you don’t want to work at the Dairy Queen for some extra cash, you’re out of luck buddy. There are no places for teenagers to work other than the fast food restaurants. It’s very depressing.
9. There are no datable guys
Like I said before, everyone knows everyone else. The boy next door (if there even is a next door) has lived there since you were a kid, and he has the sexual appeal of a rotten banana. All the boys in school are like family (yes it’s creepy). It’s such a desperate situation that a girl almost has to move away to have any prospects.
10. Most people never leave
This infuriates me. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have never left Barnesville, even to go to the next county over. I don’t understand this at all. It makes me want to scream motivational quotes about seizing the day or living your life to the fullest at them.
I’m a firm believer in experiencing as much as you can while you can, because how else are you going to learn anything worth knowing? Here’s some free advice; Just go. Get out there and see things and do things and make mistakes. It’ll be worth it. Promise.