When I was in law school one of my professors, who was a bit of a storyteller,* told us something like, “The entire city of Los Angeles is really one small town of lawyers, and the entire city of New York is really one small town of lawyers, and the entire state we live in is really one small town of lawyers, so be careful of what you say and what you do, because things always come around, and people are watching you.” He had some experience in these things as he had worked for many years, I think in both cities, and had also lived in our state part-time for a number of years. I didn’t listen to much of what he said, because the entire grade for that class was based on a final paper, so I spent most of my class time working on that paper, gchatting, or watching MLB. I must have been listening that day, because I remember that lecture well, and I’ve often thought about it since.
Since that time I’ve lived in a variety of different places, but the last few have tended to be larger communities, where I felt, outside of my group of friends and neighborhood, relatively anonymous. I’m not sure I ever stopped to think about whether I liked that or not. I don’t remember stopping to think about it, but it became what I was used to, and there is a certain sense of safety that comes with it.
I think things work differently down here. When I meet people they talk about how long their families have lived here, by years (usually decades) or generations, and it’s something they are proud of. Everyone seems to know a lot about everyone else, not necessarily because they are nosy or anything like that, just because they have been around a long time and have seen a lot. I’m sure we are curiosities, and we do make quite a sight. Going anywhere is a bit of a production, and on any given day someone in the family has a big personality. It would be fair to say we tend to stand out.
Today I stopped at a stationary store and the owner is friends with someone at my husband’s new office, the one person with whom I have had any communication. That’s something that might have been possible in the town where I grew up, and maybe one or two other places I’ve lived, but this happened in one of the first places I walked into, with one of the first adults I’ve spoken to, since we moved a few days ago. And to be clear, while we are not living in New York or LA, we are not exactly living in a town with 500 people either.
Again, I’m not sure whether I think that’s good or bad, and it’s probably neither, I’m just acknowledging that it’s going to be an adjustment. It took me quite a bit of time, but I eventually joined the Lululemon yoga pants craze, because who doesn’t love an excuse to wear pajamas out of the house in a way that is not only socially acceptable but is actually considered hip and trendy? In fact, I had only really just fully embraced this approach last year when I was still pregnant with the baby, and I was starting to take it for granted. Based on what I’ve seen so far, this is not exactly the sort of town where people wear Lululemons outside of the yoga studio, and again, good or bad, that will be an adjustment. I’m thinking I can just transition from yoga pants to white linens, but that will only buy me three or four weeks and I will have to figure out something else. There has to be some available option. People everywhere have some version of “throw on” clothes, right? Right?!
*The textbook was “required” for the course, but we never once used it. He wrote the book and told war stories during every class instead. Usually for two hours.