Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some random relative merits

Our area is partly remote, partly connected. We're a small town, but large enough for most services. If you're working on a plumbing project and need to make that 4th trip to the hardware store, it's not all that far away.

And we are right across the river from a larger town of almost 70,000 people. But crossing the border is so inconvenient that it makes it seem much farther away.

We're not on the way to anywhere else in the US, so we don't get people just passing through. The advantage is that people have to want to come this way. A disadvantage is that we don't, say, get performers stopping in to play for us while they're in the area anyway. I lived in one town which was about half way between two larger venues and we did get acts that way.

We're a small town and like other small towns, there is a tradition among some of the retailers and service providers of sometimes having to close up shop to attend to other important personal matters. I actually like that. I don't find it annoying. I know that if there's a day where the shop is supposed to stay open late, it never hurts to call ahead and save a trip in case they did have to close early. I recently found myself calling a business in a larger town to make sure they were really open that evening. The person at that business replied, 'yes, as we state in our hours, we are open until 7 on Thursdays' as if to say 'of course, why wouldn't we be open if we say we are open?'

One other random thought: Living near the shores of Lake Superior makes it easy to find our place on a map, even a small scale (i.e., broad range) map. We were visiting a location away from lakes or other natural geographic features. We were watching the weather report from the local TV station. The weather map was entirely without any distinguishing features. Just a big blank space other than human-made lines (i.e., roads and county lines). Someone in our group said to no one in particular 'how would someone who lives here know where they are on that map, there's nothing to go by.'

Notable natural geographic reference points on a map may not play a large part in people's opinion of their place, but it is kind of fun to be able to point to a map and easily find where you live. We'll take what we can get for advantages.

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