I grew up in a small town.
The type of small town where everyone remarks how oppressive and smelly big cities are.
The type of small town where you don't know everyone, but you surely know everyone in town by two degrees of separation.
The type of small town where the bus driver yells at you for standing up before the bus stops because you may get hurt, instead of yelling at you for not being at the door yet.
The type of small town where locals frustrations about the state of a particular road are headline news, and people rally around the cause of saving an old oak tree.
The type of small town where a friend's father declared me to have become "big city" when, a year after leaving, I showed up for my sister's graduation ceremony wearing a skirt I'd purchased at a garage sale. (I'm convinced it was because of the size of my earrings.)
And I live in a big city.
I ride the bus standing up with a coffee in my hand, go everywhere with headphones on, belong to a yoga studio, am fond of assorted martinis and am pretty good with chopsticks-- but I like to pretend I am not "big city".
I ran some errands downtown the day after I arrived home for Christmas, including one for my mother. She told me that the hardware store had some sort of innovative new hammer, that had a weird angled head that was meant for small corners. She said they would know what I was looking for if I described it to them.
They did not know what it was.
In fact, the second worker's words were, "Sure, we have a hammer that goes around corners. It's right over there by the striped spray paint and the sky hooks."
Even when it was determined what she actually meant (some out of stock multipurpose tool), I could hear them roaring, aisles away. "A hammer for around corners!"
I left, my tail tucked between my legs, and promptly ran into an old family friend, who also burst into peals of laughter when I recounted my story. "Was your mom pulling your leg? Did she actually tell you to ask about a hammer for around corners?"
So now I'm the big city girl who doesn't understand that you can use a hammer on both sides of a corner.
I might as well show up at the co-op decked out in bling, Dolce & Gabbana and stilettos.