Country folks in the Big Apple
By: By Lisa Smartt
We recently spent four nights in Times Square. New York City. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. My hubby surprised me with the trip to celebrate our 20th anniversary. What happens when a country couple spends four nights in New York City? A newspaper column.
Dresden and New York City both have a “night life” respectively. Some New Yorkers eat supper at 10, dance until morning, take a taxi to Central Park and walk the streets with millions of people to observe the lights in Times Square. When the sun sets on the “outskirts” of Dresden, we sometimes venture to the store for a gallon of milk. If it’s close to 8, we know we’re taking a walk on the wild side because we may not get there before closing. Quite an adventure. We bring the milk home. We drink the milk. We go to bed. New York City is the city that never sleeps. Dresden is the city that is sawing logs by 9 (10 on Fridays).
And what about transportation? Most people in the big city care about their blood pressure too much to get behind the wheel. Instead, they entrust their lives to taxi drivers and bus drivers. Traffic in New York City is like an ant farm that’s been dumped on the floor. Chaos. Confusion. We were amazed at how the taxi drivers could come so close to killing us while never displaying fear. Country folks don’t deal with a lot of traffic issues. Our biggest fear is hitting a deer … and not having time to process it for supper.
A stylish friend in Texas was worried about my fashion choices for the big trip. “Lisa, what are you going to wear? PLEASE tell me you’re not wearing “comfortable” shoes. Lisa, it IS New York! You’ve got to stop being so cheap and buy … y’know, New York clothes. Do you even know what they’re wearing in New York?” My friend got it all wrong. Allow me to explain.
While I was walking on the streets with eight million people, not one person stopped and said, “Look, it’s a tall blonde country woman and she’s wearing COMFORTABLE shoes! Stone her!” Of course not. The people in New York City didn’t care about me or my shoes. If I were bleeding profusely, I can’t be sure they would have stopped and handed me a tissue. And if they had, I doubt they would have made note of my shoes. Y’see, New York City is not where I need to be worried about my fashion choices. Saturday morning trips to Wal-Mart are when I need to be concerned about appearances. The times I race into the bread aisle with unwashed hair and mascara residual under my eyes are the times that lead to real embarrassment. The people who see me on Saturdays are people I’ll see again, people I know and respect. Other than Philip, I didn’t see one person in New York who knew me or would ever see me again. (Of course, I did buy one formal dress for our anniversary dinner on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center. But that was for my husband, not the New Yorkers.)
The country mice made a trip to the big city. And we’re glad we did. We saw a wonderful Broadway play. We saw Al Roker walking down the sidewalk. We saw the lights, the big buildings and all the city mice rushing to get somewhere fast. We enjoyed the city that never sleeps. But we were happy to come home to our little wooded paradise outside a small Tennessee town. Tonight I’ll be toasting the joys of country life with a tall glass of milk and an early bedtime.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.7.08