At the ripe old age of 30 I have come to the realization that I am meant to live in the country and, much to the mortification of my 16 year old self, I’m really happy about that. As a teenager, I could think of nothing more than hightailing it out of Yarrawonga and getting to Melbourne toot sweet. My year 12 yearbook even lists my plans for the following year as ‘study something in Melbourne’. I absolutely busted my hip joints to move to the big smoke and finally did so on my 18th birthday keen as a bean to get stuck into my study of ‘something’ a Bachelor of Archaeology. Tram hopping, train riding, parallel parking and city driving – I could do it all. I was a regular woman about town. I knew all the coolest places and distinctly remember my sheer amazement at the fact that pubs were open every night of the week. Wowee! (Remember those days Stace??! I think we called them ‘The Adventrues of Rover and Caboose”!)
Did I love my time in Melbourne? You bet. But as often happens, the country called and I moved back in with mum and dad. For the first time.
Now, as a card carrying country bumpkin, there are so many things that grind my gears about the city that I came up with a little list inspired by a recent trip to my former home city.
You know you’re from the country when:
- You’re really happy that there is a parking attendant in the multi level carpark. A real live person you can talk to and explain your situation to and they can tell you where to park. I greeted him like a messiah.
- You can’t stand the smell. The fumes mostly, but also the cigarette smoke. And that’s a big one coming from a former smoker. Now, it just gives me a headache.
- People seem like they have been put on the earth to make your life difficult. They slowly in front of you. Stop suddenly. Walk outside of a venue (namely The Comedy Theatre after an amazing performance of Rocky Horror) and just stop leaving no room for others to leave or people to walk past. People – just annoying in general.
- After completing a hook turn, you feel as though you have just disabled a bomb and saved humanity.
- You feel all nostalgic when you see your old tram (no. 86).
- You go to The Pancake Parlour. This seems to be where country people hang out. You can tell they’re from the country by the look of relief on their faces when they descend to the underground, sit down
- and take a minute out of the madness with something familiar like the ‘IT’.
- You are totally thrown by the redevelopment of places like Myer and Melbourne Central and wonder what Zara is all about.
- You avoid taking public transport since this whole Myki thing. What was wrong with the old Met Card. Is that what it was called?
- You smile and nod at people on the street. But they give you nothing.
- You’re really happy that you’ve managed to get into and stay in the correct lane and are on the way home to a simpler, but not necessarily lesser, life.
I read an article in the local rag today that a study has concluded that people who live in small towns are happier and I must agree. There’s something wonderful about wandering about the patch of earth you’re lucky enough to live on, that’s as big as some suburbs, and not seeing a single human soul. There’s a peace in having some wide open space and truly understanding the value of fresh air. Of saying hello to people down the street, even if you don’t know them, always being able to get a park and still having someone fill your car up with fuel.
You know you’re from the country when you truly believe that that horrible, cringe worthy cliché ‘the best view of Melbourne is in the rear vision mirror’ is actually true. You can take the girl out of the country, but she’ll always come back.