Hudson Valley

Things Are a Lot Different in a Small Town

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As you all know, I recently moved away from New York City and it’s not going well. I never considered myself that much a of a city girl. Sure, I was taking the train alone by the age of 10 but I also owned a car and drove it regularly. I lived in the most suburban part of NYC for the last 18 years of my life so I thought I could handle a small town.

I didn’t think there would be that much of a difference. Boy was I wrong!

If you actually live in a small town, you’re probably going to roll your eyes at a lot of what I’m going to say. Considering that my town has a population of 11,000 I am not exactly sure how small it’s considered. But for me, this shit is very small. Every day something new happens that makes me think, “Holy shit, I am living in the boondocks!”

This has been quite the learning experience for me. Below are just some of the many thoughts I’ve had since moving to the boondocks.

What is up with volunteer firefighters? Coming from a city where firefighters are revered, I just cannot get behind the idea of volunteer firefighters! Any child here who dreams about growing up to be a firefighter one day, needs to be put in their place. “Sorry sweetie, fighting fires is just a hobby. You’ll need a real job.” Cause apparently risking your life to save people from fire is not worthy of a paycheck. Since this is a small town, and the surrounding areas are even smaller, I can understand not needing a HUGE staff. Maybe have some people who want to volunteer if there is a big issue. But to not have any paid staff members is absurd to me.

If I get sick or hurt here, I am going to die. As a hypochondriac, doctors are very important to me. I had reliable doctors back in Staten Island and I even had 1-2 urgent cares that I trusted for same day issues. Now I have to start all over again and at a place where the doctors do not have the best reputation. I turned to my coworkers for references when I first moved here but practically all of them do not have a primary care physician. These are grown ass adults so this boggles my mind. I finally settled on a doctor that had decent reviews. However, I couldn’t get in for 2 months and the office is 45 minutes away from my home. I need to drive almost two hours just to see a mediocre doctor. There’s also no hospital in my town so if I fell down the stairs I’d have to drag my ass to the next town over, 20 minutes away!

I question the whole cost of living theory. When I was moving up north from NYC, so many people commented on how my cost of living is going to be much cheaper. When it came to rent, they were absolutely right. In NYC, I would be living in a studio basement paying what I pay for my 2-bedroom apartment up here. But plenty of other things are either just as expensive or even more expensive than the city. I have never spent more money grocery shopping than I have here. It’s unreal. I’ll go in for just some fruits and veggies for the week and spend over $60.

Maybe taxes aren’t so bad. This is one that I NEVER thought I’d say. Every 2 weeks getting paid in NYC, I would die a little inside. “Why does half my paycheck get taken away?” Then I moved to a place with volunteer firefighters and it all made sense. NYC may take a bit too much taxes but a lot of those taxes do go to good use. I’ll take some out of my paycheck to make sure those putting out fires are compensated. I’m also willing to pay out of my paycheck to make recycling easy cause recycling is a real bitch here. In NYC you could leave a three-piece bedroom set outside and sanitation would easily take it. Here, it’s like they don’t want you to recycle. Since I’m renting I don’t have to pay for garbage pickup. However, the garbage pickup does not recycle. So if I want to do my part for this world that’s wasting away, I have to lug all my recyclables to a dumpster down the road. Now, I get this is a first world problem complaint. However, not a lot of people can be bothered with going that extra step. Where I live, my neighbors don’t recycle. They just put all their giant Amazon boxes with all the other garbage. This world is falling apart, towns should be doing everything they can to make recycling as easy and accessible as possible.

Who comes up with these business hours? My current library is off a main street. And when I say main street that’s the actually name of the street. I am convinced that only small towns have a main street. And they are usually incredibly quaint and cute. My main street is no exception. However, the hours of the shops and restaurants are bizarre. My sisters came to visit on a Monday and decided to walk around main street while I was working. They came back to complain that only TWO stores were open. There are some shops that are open for three hours a day, two days a week.

I miss rats and cockroaches. Now this is a statement I really never thought I’d say. I’m not suddenly a fan of rats and cockroaches but I’d take them over ticks, bears, and rattlesnakes. The wild creatures living in this neck of the woods freak me out on a daily basis.

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