I live in a small town. Of course it is all relative, since I am well aware there are much smaller towns to be found. Let’s put it in perspective. The town has a population of approximately 17,000 people. The town I recently moved from to come here had a population of about 34,000. Double the amount of people, for those of you who don’t have your calculators handy. I am originally from New York City, population 8 million give or take. Having lived in Miami, San Francisco and 15 miles from Washington DC. , you can understand why I am saying I now live in a small town. We are talking cows and chickens small. There is a Main Street. Most small towns I have been to have a street called Main Street. Some run about a block, but my town’s main street is a few miles!
Living in a city or suburb of a city, one can count on anonymity. You blend in a city of 8 million. You can certainly blend in a city like Miami , where the population is about 400,000+. When I lived in the town of about 34,000, I did on occasion run into someone I know, but not often. Blending was more difficult, but still i could go months without seeing someone I knew.
Which brings me to my town of 17,000. Not excessively small but clearly my anonymity is gone. The historic part of the downtown area runs a few blocks. Quaint and cute, but small. Scattered about the county are many antique shops, small businesses and of course Wal-Mart , Target and Tractor Supply Store. One of my pastimes is to maintain an antique booth in an antique mall in the town I live in. Weekly, I stop in to add things, pick up a check (hopefully) and keep it neat and appealing.
Last week, I parked in front of the Antique Mall, hopped out of the car, just planning on running in to grab a chair to take out of my booth. Wound my way through, grabbed the chair and was headed for the front door to throw it in my car. An older gentleman (he looked older) (Guess he could be my age or I really hope older because otherwise he isn’t looking that good) jumped up and said let me get the door for you. He was very small. Inches shorter than I am and somewhat stooped over. I thought that was very gentlemanly of him to offer. I thought, ahhh small town living at its best. So he held the door , I walked through with my chair, and he follows me outside! He then says, “How are you?” “just fine”, I reply and “how are you today?”
He says “good. I saw you on Plenty of Fish.” I stopped in my tracks and said “oh really?” No one, anywhere, had ever recognized me from a dating site nor have I ever seen anyone in person on the street from a site. Maybe that is not the norm, but for me, I thought oh no. I live in a small town and now people recognize my face. I can pretty much say there does not seem to be a lot of people in my town on this site! There are not a lot of people period. He then says” so how’s it going.” I said “Fine”. Then I realized he meant my success or lack of success on the site. I said, “ oh you know, haven’t been on much lately (which is not a lie. since I moved dating has taken the back burner.)
I opened the back of my car to put the chair in and he is lingering. I said as cheery as I could, “Thanks so much for holding the door. That was very kind.” He says, “Anytime. I am here often”. What? It is an antique shop. He was just sitting in a chair near the front desk when I came in. Is this a local hangout? A Meeting place? Do people gather there and tell stories? Or is he waiting for unsuspecting dating site participants to come through looking for a vintage chair or vintage man!