If you’ve ever lived on the edge of a big city, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s totally different from anywhere else. Here are 20 signs you grew up outside a big city.
1. When you tell people where you’re from, they automatically assume you know all the hot spots.
Yes, you do technically live in that city, but you don’t live in the middle of the action. You may know a few of the cool places downtown, but chances are, the places you think are the best are the lesser known ones.
2. You consider the downtown (or uptown) area a totally different thing.
It’s not even the same vibe. Downtown is bustling all the time with little to no parking. Where you are, it’s much more chilled out. Two totally different subcultures right next to each other.
3. Rush hour.
It is the bane of your existence and in most places, those words are plural. The four o’clock crowd is just the beginning. The five o’clock crowd causes the traffic jams. By the time the six o’clock crowd gets on the roads, all hell breaks loose. You and your friends and family plan visits around the rush hours so you can try not to be caught in all the chaos.
4. You can’t stand the reputation your city gets.
If the city has a high crime rate, people will automatically assume that the whole city is exactly the same. Living right on the edge of the city limits means that the community you live in is probably much safer than the main part of the city. Whenever you watch the news it’s rarely about something that happened in that little section that you call home, but people still assume that it’s the same everywhere.
5. “Oh! I had no idea this was here!” or “I had no idea these were still in business!”
Yeah, you hear that a lot from people who either live in downtown, or people who have only been to downtown. There are stores/restaurants that have gone out of business in downtown but are thriving on the outskirts. Plus, all the best food is at the Mom and Pop’s places that can’t run in the tight quarters of downtown.
6. Your favorite restaurants may appear….sketchy. But you know people who work there and they are the best!
Sometimes, your friends from out of town are a little wary when you take them to a new restaurant and it’s a building the size of a small apartment. Or maybe its one of those walk up restaurants and the seating is outside. You’ve been there dozens of times and the staff knows you by name, but it does seem sketchy if you haven’t been there before. The plates and utensils are paper or plastic, but when you take that first bite, all doubts fade and you enjoy that fantastic meal.
7. In your experience, the farmer’s market is the best place to spend a free day.
This is probably true for anyone in the city, but it also depends on how much variety there is. If it is like most, it’s like going to the biggest grocery store ever. Need new chairs? Farmer’s market. Need some fresh veggies? Farmer’s market. It’s a great way to spend time outside, get some exercise, and meet some amazing people (and eat some amazing foods).
8. Sunday afternoons are your sacred time and you hate it when you have plans.
Again, this usually applies to everyone. Sundays are that one little bit of rest that you have before the week starts over. It seems universal that plans are not to be made for Sunday afternoon. Sunday morning? Sure. Sunday night? Definitely. But no plans in the afternoon.
9. The only plans allowed if you grew up outside a big city on a Sunday afternoon are watching sports.
Your parents avidly watch their favorite sport (and nap) until it’s dinner time. They usually will sprawl out in the living room (or den) and doze in their favorite chairs, but when you think they’re asleep and you try to change the channel, they snatch the remote and tell you that they’re trying to watch the game.
10. If you live near a main road, you avoid it as much as possible.
Living in the outskirts your whole life, you probably know all the back roads, and even if they take longer, it’s better than dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Plus, the back roads are absolutely beautiful any time of the year.
11. On Saturday mornings in the spring and summer, you hear lawn mowers as soon as you open the front door (or as soon as you open your eyes).
Common for small towns and the suburbs, it seems like Saturday is the designated mow your lawn day. Most of the time, you hear a lawn mower before you’re fully awake enough for it to register. For most, it’s cathartic after a stressful week if you grew up outside a big city.
12. You can’t stand people who speed through residential areas.
First of all, it is not a NASCAR race. Second of all, there are people jogging, riding bikes, playing games, walking dogs, and anything else you can think of. Speeding through all that action is hazardous to people just trying to get in an afternoon stroll as well as the driver.
13. There is always a good yard sale on the weekends.
Yard sales are like treasure hunts, except you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. If you need a set of drapes that will match that new carpet, you can probably get them for five bucks at a yard sale. While you’re there, you might just pick up your new favorite book or CD. The people having the yard sale just want to get rid of some stuff, so the prices are extremely low. Only found if you grew up outside a big city
14. Speaking of yard sales, everyone knows that one person.
There’s always that one person (and at least one of their friends) that make their Saturday plans by seeing who’s having a yard sale. Similar to bar crawling, this person and whatever poor soul agrees to go with them will drive from house to house picking up various knick-knacks and cook books. Afterwards, they go for a nice lunch and recount their findings (even though they were all there the whole time).
15. If you’re anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon, “bless your heart” is in every conversation somehow.
Now, this is true all throughout the South. You can insult someone to the highest degree, but if you tack a “bless your heart” on the end, it’s almost taken as a compliment. It’s also used when you don’t like someone.
16. Your parents know where you have been and what you have done before you even get a chance to lie about it.
True for suburbs and small towns, somebody knows who your parents are and will call them to ask what you were doing at that one place they know you’re not supposed to be. It’s like having multiple sets of parents that all conspire to get you into trouble with your actual parents. Most calls start with “Let me tell you what your child has done and where they are.”
17. Everyone envies the kid with the trampoline.
What else are you supposed to do in the middle of the summer when you aren’t old enough to drive? It’s either a trampoline or a tree house, but those kids have the most friends. And if you make them mad, nobody in the neighborhood talks to you until they say it’s okay again. It just shows how petty some kids can be.
18. Neighborhood swimming pools are great…sometimes.
If your neighborhood has a pool, it is either the best place to go, or the worst. It can be a nice place to go to cool off during the summer months and hang out. Plus, all your friends who don’t have neighborhood pools are super jealous. However, they can be terrible if they aren’t cleaned often or if there are screaming kids everywhere.
19. When someone is grilling out, you want to befriend them immediately.
Imagine this: you get home from a long day, and when you get out of the car, the most delicious smell graces your nostrils. You take a deep whiff, wishing you were invited to dinner at their house. It’s relaxing to have that magical moment, and just for a second, all the stress melts away.
20. Your teachers know your entire family if you grew up outside a big city.
Possibly a slight exaggeration, but you run into your teachers a lot in random stores or restaurants. If you’re out at a family meal, your parents will most likely introduce them to everyone there. Awkward? Awkward. Definitely grew up outside a big city.