I have returned to my little Southern bedroom community thankful for some things. High on that list is anonymity.
I grew up in a town of about 26,000. My graduating class was like 260 or something like that. So I am from a small town. My Father is a Preachers kid, and comes from a town of about 400. My Moms hometown, was probably about the same size.
So I head back to my hometown with kids in tow.
Upon going out on the town with my Sister, or anyone else for that matter, we were constantly stopped and chatted up. Going to the store to get milk, can take my Sister about 30-45 minutes. The small talk was irritating to me. I hate small talk. Lots of questions re: my arrival, and departure. My Sister on the other hand LOVES the small talk.
Upon entering an eating establishment (I will call "Wrinkle City" based on its propensity to attract the over 60 crowd) with my Sister, and my Fathers fiancee. There were arms flapping, tongues wagging, and eyebrows were raised.
I was even told by a classmate, I looked a "little different, bigger maybe". I forgot her name, but smiled politely and then found myself plotting her demise over the next week or so. Heck, I met some distant relatives, that #1 didn't know for sure who I was. #2 Questioned my Husbands absence (he was at his annual 2 week National Guard Training). #3 I was also questioned about "his service" in Iraq. "What did he do?" as the question, which I thought was exploitive, and ignorant.
For some strange reason, I am finding the situation odd. I don't have anything to hide. So why does a town full of people that know 3 generations of my family, make me uncomfortable? I think part of it, is the gossip. Oh I loathe small town gossip. The other part, is wrong gossip. Misinformation is a pet peeve of mine.
For the record, I sat at my own Fathers kitchen table listening to bits and pieces of gossip. First off, I had no idea who the gossip was about, secondly, they thumbed through obituaries, and had declared the wrong person dead. Aunt Leggy, had even heard some misinformation about a relative of hers, and a health issue (that was NONEXISTENT), that could be damaging. Loads and loads of damaging misinformation being spread like some sort of plague.
Every time I heard it, I wanted a bath, and I wanted to call people out on it. I sadly did not. I just sat denying any knowledge of said person they were gossiping about.
I like my bedroom community. To my knowledge, not one eyebrow is raised when I go into the grocers, and I like it that way.