Postcard From PA

With Love From the Ruburbs

When I told people I was moving to the country, I got some looks. You'll go crazy, my friends assured me. You can't live without nightlife and gossip and caffe macchiato. You'll be back in 10 minutes, they said. Well, it's true there isn't much nightlife out here in Glen Rock, PA, but you can certainly find rumors and fancy coffee. In fact, though my house is on a hill surrounded by acres of cornfields and cows, though I can split wood naked and no neighbor would ever see me, less than two miles from my door is a sushi restaurant, a health-food store, and a takeout place for espresso and steamed crabs.

I think "the country" is a little different than it used to be; surely different than imagined by city-dwellers whose image is half-Walden, half-Waltons. What we've got out here might be more accurately described as the "ruburbs": a rural version of suburban living with soccer moms and Taco Bells among the manure-scented pastures; Mennonite fruit stands attached to miniature golf courses; kids riding lawn tractors to the Pokémon swap meet. Just this morning I watched the wild turkeys mill around our satellite dish. Planted in Mother Earth, channeling Father Sky, with about 300 more viewing options than I ever had in the city.

Once people lived in the country because they were grazing cattle; now they live out here because it's pretty and private and they have a big SUV to take them to town. We don't need a bookstore; we've got the Internet. We don't need a bar; we can't stay up after 10:30pm anymore anyway. And best of all we don't need a high-tech home alarm system; a couple of barn cats to chase off mice works just fine. And while PMS is no different than in the city, you do run into fewer people to take it out on.

We see our movies at the mall or on one of our two million satellite movie channels. Our kitty-cats poop in the pastures and meow at dawn. There are red barns. There are rustling trees. There is Wendy's, Laser Quest, and Wal-Mart. If Norman Rockwell were alive, he'd be coming to my house for New Year's Eve. And that is about all the millennium I can handle. end story

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Ruburbs, Suburbs, Rural, country living, Marion Winik, Telling

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