A week or so ago, while I was out for a run, a man tried to gain my attention as he was getting into his truck. In New York, I would have blown right past him, as a natural defense mechanism for needing solo running time amidst the crowds of tourists who always have questions, men making hit on type comments, and homeless persons begging for money.
When I first moved to the city I'd feel guilty when I pretended not to hear what was being spoken. I felt like I was being deceitful and unkind, even though my ear buds and running shoes suggested I was unavailable for dialogue. My counselor friend Stacey assured me, that in a city like New York, taking time for yourself - even amidst the crowds - is simply a part of self-care. She reminded me, if you make yourself overly available to everybody, you won't be any good for anybody.
But running in Michigan - in the middle of winter - is a far different experience. While I'm out for a jog near our lake house, I might pass by maybe six or seven individuals - not six or seven thousand pedestrians from all around the world. So, without hesitation, I stopped to see what the truck man wanted. And in doing so, I finally met THE Randy, of Randy's Roadside Bar-B-Que.
Randy's place is open in the summer months, and located a couple of miles from where my parents reside. Long ago it was a donut shop, and when I was a kid, my mom and I would frequent the trailer for long john donuts. I can't recall when exactly the donut shop went out of business, but it was before I started wearing a bikini, when access donut chub was a non issue. With that having been said, I ate a donut both yesterday and today, and strongly feel everyone should eat a donut at least once a month.
But back to Randy. I mention him and his Barbeque place, because I'm reminded of the uniqueness of living in a small town, rural area. There's a good chance you'll actually meet the owner of a place when you go. For instance, last winter, while at Jerry's Pub on a neighboring lake, I chatted some with Jerry while I was there watching Michigan basketball.
In addition, there is the element of running into people you know at the corner store gas station, the grocery store, the pharmacy, and pretty much any where you go. I may see far less people here in rural Michigan when I'm about and about, but I'm far more likely than in New York, to see someone I know from years ago. And there's something special about that - it's called community, held in place by years of people sticking around, in contrast to the transient ebb and flow of city life.