I just returned home from four days in the country...with the parents. My dad had open heart surgery two weeks ago and he's recovering at home. I couldn't get home sooner because of Storm Sandy and the shit storm that was transportation in New York City. He's doing well and I'm glad I got to spend time with him. But I'm more glad to be home in the city because things, well, are very different in the country.
The not-so-good parts of country-living:
Yard work. There was raking.
Then snow shoveling.
Mom and Dad's backyard
I can see why people don't go to the gym as often as city folk because that shit is seriously exhausting.
Running errands by car across four different towns took me more than three hours. I had to go inside a bank to make a deposit for my parents. I did not know that people still go inside banks and that other people work in them.
People out here make outlet shopping a hobby. Everything is always 40% off, and yet there is always a mad rush to buy things you don't like or need. "But it was on sale!" You'll say to people who look at you funny when wear that ugly dress.
The outlet parking lot was completely full. I drove around in circles wasting my life away, until I finally spotted a nice family to slowly stalk in my dad's car to wait for their space. Stalking in the city - a no-no. Stalking in the suburbs - a necessity. Best to stalk in a Prius because its engine is so quiet no one will hear you coming.
Obviously, I bought about a ton of things I don't need at the Gap outlet and paid less than a hundred dollars. I won't lie: it felt good.
I went to bed before 10pm every night and woke up before 8am. This NEVER happens in the city. The darkness in the country, even though I grew up with it, is blinding and scary. The good part is the stars in the night sky. I could gaze at them for hours.
The best parts of country-living:
Grandma's pot roast
I ate dinner with my grandparents at their house. We had pot roast and a green salad homemade by Grandma and copious amounts of red wine on the side. She gave me a bag of chilli peppers grown in her garden. They are almost 90 and still live alone and cook for themselves. When I remind myself of this I am truly amazed. Will I live until 90 and if I do will I still have my shit together?
When our conversation turned to storm talk they reminisced about the great hurricane of 1938 that was worse than Sandy, they said, because it rained for five days straight. They were teenagers and in school when the storm arrived. But no one cancelled school, my grandpa laughed, he and his friends walked home in it. Through a park with giant elm trees.
He laughed again.
We lost power but it hardly mattered. We still had a log stove and read books and went to bed by 8pm anyway, my grandma said. There was no TV, no iphones, no laptops.
People didn't make a big deal about storms back then.