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Small town gibberish

 
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Location: Desert
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We recently moved to the desert and near a much smaller town than before. I find it funny how time is much different here. When new to the area, Getting ahold of someone is the challenge.  You must be here for 3-6 months for anyone to give you the time of day.  They want to make sure you are truly staying I suppose. Not many people stay after they try the “fun and easy” living off the grid life. They last a couple months and the desert spits them out.
I get a lot of “ Yeah, you must meet Bob!” I reply, “ Great, where is he usually or do you have a contact number?” The most common response regarding anything and I mean anything is
“ He’s just around. And you can look him up. “ The lady that cuts hair works at a shop in the square. Go ask them. Or there are a lot of events. We get together for a pot luck sometimes. You ask when. No one knows.
I find this quite amusing. Comical actually. I’m learning to slow down and be on their time. They will let us in when they are ready.

How does your town communicate? Have you pissed off the one Chiropractor in town and there is no one else for miles? (Yes, I did that).
Are you in the know or do you stay tucked away to avoid it all?  
 
pollinator
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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That sounds like a great strategy.
 
Posts: 198
Location: East Tennessee
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A lot of the manner in which a town accepts you is based on where you came from and how friendly you are, I've lived lots of places; including just outside of El Paso in the desert off-grid. Most of the locals had a dim outlook on the "homesteaders" that lived off grid in the desert. Probably much like you describe, I did notice that I didn't have much trouble assimilating because I am originally from the South. Most of the outsiders that didn't make it seemed to be from "up north".
 
master steward
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It's not just a desert phenomenon. I'm not sure whether the community needs to be a bit 'on the edge, or just small and close knit. We moved to Skye about 15 years ago to a community on the NW corner of the island. We bought the house first which needed doing up, foolishly thinking we could work on it remotely. Then when that wasn't working we bought the tiny shop. Now that's a good way of meeting people! and you have to be nice to every one (good practice for Permies!) So we pretty soon knew more people than others who had stayed here for years.
We've learnt a few things. Like people are very polite here. They don't like to speak the Gaelic in front of non speakers (and we still haven't learnt more than 'hello', 'thank you' and 'how are you'). They also don't like to say no (I actually think there is no Gaelic word for yes and no, but I may be wrong on that). You'll get the impression that they agree with you, or going to do a job, and then never turn up. Things happen more smoothly if you don't push. Noone likes to be bossed around. People often have two or three jobs and work around the weather. If it's a nice day, you go fishing or work with the sheep, you don't go and fix someone's leaky tap! It's not laziness, people work very hard, but nothing happens in a rush. It's great!
Of course it isn't just Gaels here, in fact the native population only make up about 10-20 percent of the population, although more own a home or come back for holidays. Having been here a while and see many people come and go, I can understand why people are a bit reluctant to invest in a new friendship. It may not be intended as such, but it feels like a personal rejection when someone moves away again.
We'll never be locals until one of our grandparents was born here though.
 
steward
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Nancy said, " I'm not sure whether the community needs to be a bit 'on the edge, or just small and close knit.



This!  This "small and close knit".  Everyone has already got all the friends they need.  Cousins and school chums so they do not need any new friends.

I saw this same thing happen when we bought our homestead and move to the outskirts of a small town.  We lived there for 15 years +/- and I had a job in town.  

With our daughter, it was the complete opposite.  She fit right in, had lots of friends.  "close and tight-knit" to this day.

I was also on the other side in our neighborhood.  We had so many people move in on some smaller owner-finance lots with houses.  It was like they were renters and would be there only a few months and then they were gone.  Why make friends?
 
gardener
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My area is similar. Very different pace than I'm used to, nobody seems to know their own address ("Oh, I'm just up the road, brown house. Can't miss it." which road? which of the 5 brown houses? nobody knows), and nobody calls you back! My friend said it's because you just expect to see the person at the grocery store or something, so they probably don't need to return your call. But it's not the best way to run a business... lol.

They've been super welcoming, though, so I'll definitely give them that. Especially after I survived the winter in an RV from 1990 (read: "glorified styrofoam box"), they see me as one of them at this point. And so do I! Happy to fly the flag, and adjust to the lifestyle. I also hate returning phone calls, so I guess I should have been on this vibe a long time ago anyway!

I do stay tucked away, not so much "in-the-know", but information gets around pretty easy out here. The guy who we get our firewood from basically gave us the lay of the land beyond what most people even know out here. All the tips on who we need to know, and what little jobs we can do for extra cash. And one neighbour down the road has taken a liking to my little farming projects, and gifts us wood and pallets and snacks all the time. Tipped us off on where to get more compost when we ran out, as his daughter works at a farm nearby. Out here you only need to know a few people, and suddenly you've got connections for everything.
The only weird/bad experience was the guy who showed up after a wave of thefts, thinking we were the thieves... Long story, but some people don't have the best boundaries when ya live in the woods and have no friends. But even then, he brings us fresh pork from his pigs, and offered to help drill a well, even after accusing us of being terrorists, so whatever! I'll take what I can get, I guess. Small town friendships aren't always what I'm used to from city life.

It's the businesses actually that are the toughest. Couldn't get a call back last year to have gravel delivered, despite speaking to them multiple times. I have half a grudge about it, but there's another place nearby I could try if I don't just cart some over from the dirt it down the road. Not sure if it's attitude about outsiders, or they just didn't like the way I sounded lol.
 
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