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The Calmness In A Small Town

breakfast snapshot

This is another post of the category advantages of a small town, and about myself. When I am in a bigger city, for example in my home town, I would never ever eat my breakfast in a bakery or coffee shop, I usually prefer to have my breakfast at home, and if that is not possible, I would rather eat my breakfast on my way. I don’t suffer from claustrophobia, but to be honest, the term is still perfect to explain the feelings I get if I am in a totally crowded room. That is however much different in the small town where I am right now.

It has nothing to do with the crowd, I did for example enjoy electronic music events with thousands of people around me when I was in my early twenties. I did for example visit the May Day, an electronic music event with 40.000 people dancing in a hall in Dortmund, or the Love Parade in Berlin, with over a million people dancing around the Victory Column in Berlin, I enjoyed the action in the middle of the crowd, maybe because I was young and drunken, who knows.

I did enjoy these or similar events back then, but at the same time I could never enjoy personal things like a breakfast in a store where there are strangers a half meter away from you, who enjoy to take a look how the fork moves from your plate into your mouth while they waiting for their food to arrive, because that is so different compared to dancing and having fun with like-minded people. In the case of a restaurant, I always disliked the curiosity of strangers, and the fact that they could understand every single word we would talk, its not a place where I like to discuss private things.

I suffered from social anxiety for a while, it’s much better today but still there at times, but even before that time I wouldn’t have liked to have my breakfast in a room full of strangers around me, as same as I always hated to take the bus, or the train in holiday seasons. This had nothing to do with the social anxiety, that I got later on, it is completely unrelated. I just don’t feel comfortable at places where I don’t have my privacy together with friends or family members, that is the first reason.

Also I never liked the fact that you can not choose the seat neighbor in public transport, maybe its someone who didn’t take a shower for a week, or it’s rush hour and the transport is that full that you had to endure five inches of eye contact with a stranger for 15 minutes or more. I could add other things, for example losing several minutes of your life in a checkout line full of stressed people, or losing a lot of time in a waiting room in agency together with a lot of moaning people. That all can mean city life to me.

So, if I dislike all these things, why exactly should I freely decide to eat my breakfast in a very similar environment? Really, I do need 40 meters of free space around me, and no, I don’t want to hear the jabbering of strangers around me. Sometimes there is absolutely no way around this, for example when I have to make purchases, or managing bureaucracy, but visiting a crowded restaurant or a coffee shop, that is something I can and will avoid in a city most of the time.

Now about the primary subject of this post, one of the advantages of a small town. Speaking about smaller towns, you can forget everything I wrote, it simply doesn’t apply to small towns. Today in the morning I did enjoy my breakfast in a coffee shop, that’s where I took the snapshot of this post with my smartphone. I did eat there several times a week already over the last months, and I like it. There are other people enjoying their breakfast, I saw 10 people around me, several meters away sitting at other tables, not a half meter next to me.

That is the point I wanted to make, it’s so different, and then I like it a lot. There are fewer people in a town, and you see it in stores, when you are visiting the bank, or the authorities and so on. It doesn’t matter, everything takes less time, is less stressful, and you have some privacy even if you go out to eat something in a bar or in a coffee shop. That is one big advantage of towns over bigger cities. I really could get used to it, but that doesn’t mean that I prefer towns over bigger cities, because both have advantages and disadvantages. But I definitely like the calmness you have in a town.

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6 Comments »

  1. I do agree with you Dennis. I don’t like to eat in crowded places either. I dislike eating at a communal table with strangers and will usually avoid it. Crowded buses and trains are a part of city life and if you want to go to big events you have to expect long lines for everything. I think that maybe you come to enjoy peace and quiet more as you get older. When I was young I would have found living in such a quiet place as this a bit boring. I liked to go to concerts too, rock, not electronica, I liked to go to the city and go round the shops all day and even thought that it might be nice to live in a larger city such as Sydney. Now I am content to live here and visit the city every week or so.

  2. Exactly, maybe we get tired of crowds the older we get. As said, I liked big events like the Love Parade in Berlin, and there were usually around 1.6 million people and I was somewhere in the middle… Your point is valid, I am sure that wouldn’t be something for me today, but in my early twenties I liked that kind of action a lot. I was the same as you, back then I would have argued too that small towns would bore me, but I see why people do live there.

    As a hobby guitarist I always liked rock music too, as same as the big rock events. Back then we had a yearly festival in the city, mainly rock music, where you could do the same, going around, shopping, beer stalls in every street, and of course crowded, I had no problems with it. I am just 34, but I already have the feeling that I have seen the big events, I still like cultural events today but then rather the smaller ones. Friends of me think the same way, we sometimes laugh about it and say “We had too much of this action in our twenties”, as funny as it sounds, I believe this is true. 😀 Anyway, I still think Lübeck is a nice compromise between small and big… we talked already about it, I for example wouldn’t like to live in a city big as Sydney, that means cities like Hamburg for example would be excluded. You are right, you can still visit the very big cities if you want to, that’s how I do it too.

  3. Interesting insight into how our around influences us.
    My darling and I have moved to a retirement village. It is-or at least for the short term- is on the outskirts of a main centre.
    The local small shopping centre is a few minutes walk, and while busy its not wall to wall crowded. And we take time to have coffee there, occasionally share a sandwich or raisin toast, and talk to the locals. A complete different lifestyle.
    I’ve worked and lived in many large cities across southeast asia and enjoyed the hustle and bustle, the edginess of life in the fast lane and minimal sleep.
    i like WordPress, or blogging in particular, as it also offers that simpler connection, yet enjoyable interaction.
    Good thought provoking post.
    Good luck with breakfast!
    David

    • Hi David. I worked in larger cities too, for example in Hamburg, at first it was interesting but after a while I didn’t like it anymore. Now as I am on a visit in my uncles smaller town for a while, I really see why some people want to live in smaller towns. But my hometown Lübeck is still a compromise between big and small, and not too bad either, it’s just that many places in the city can be very crowded at times, and I don’t like that anymore. At my uncle’s place I can get into the nature pretty fast, it takes a few minutes by walking, everything is less crowded, I could get used to it.

      I like blogging too, I started this blog in 2011 out of boredom, but I started to like it that much that I couldn’t stop to publish thoughts. I understand you 🙂 I had German websites before this one, as I am German, but this blog here made me improve my English, I believe I could learn a lot just by trying to write in English.

      Have a nice weekend David!

    • I can imagine that, and I am afraid that I get so much used to it, that I will prefer it over a city too, but I am only temporary here, and my real home is a city 😀

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