After having grown up predominantly in the city, I have lived in small country towns most of my adult life. My verdict, they actually suck.
City dwellers have this idyllic view of the country, wide open spaces, the sounds of nature, warm friendly people, you know, all those country cliches, however, the truth is a stark contrast.
Yes, the wide open spaces are a given, but the sounds of nature are quite often stifled by those trying to stifle nature, gunshots, trucks, tractors, it is quite often as noisy with man made noise as living next to an eight lane highway. It makes you realise that man doesn’t like silence. If there is silence, then man must get rid of it, fill it with non-natural, man made sounds. And if in the process of making those sounds he can run over a few koala’s and kangaroos, or shoot a few waterfowl, or flatten a few trees, well all’s good.
Then you come to the “Warm Friendly People” bit. Most people in the country are racist, homophobic, and not very intelligent. They’ll vote for the likes of Donald Trump, or our own dickhead leaders here in Australia like Tony Abbot, Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Turnbull. These leaders make them feel that they can make them safe, because the world is an inherently dangerous place. If the outsiders aren’t going to take your land, they will kill you or steal from you. So, if you aren’t locally born, raised, schooled and have 5 generations of your family buried in the local cemetery, you are dangerous.
You will never be accepted in the community. You see, apparently it’s the outsiders that are the dangerous ones, despite the fact that most of the local crime is local drug addicts robbing places for their next fix, the respected local leader who sexually abuses generation after generation of the local kids, the well known business man who bashes his wife behind closed doors, or the corrupt local shire councillor who takes bribes to compensate themselves for destroying the local community. And, if you are a born and bred local, who is going through a rough patch, even if you are an arsehole, well, they will fall over themselves, even if you have only got a cold, to help you, where as if you are one of those dangerous outsiders, who actually contribute more to the community than any local does, it’s still not enough for them to give a shit, even if you are dying.
You know, someone once told me about the different Australian poets, Andrew Barton Paterson, and Henry Lawson, and how “Banjo” Paterson offered up a sugary version of country life, all coated in sweetness and honey, where as Lawson told it in all it’s truth and grittiness. Paterson sold a lie, Lawson told the truth, or in this days vernacular, Lawson told the truth, and Paterson the Alternative Facts.
Look, I love living away from the city, don’t get me wrong, I actually couldn’t see myself permanently living in a city again, but if you are wearing rose coloured glasses, thinking that a tree change is some glorious utopia, then think again.