Now that the pandemic has proven that most white collar jobs can be done remotely, many employers are considering a move to a rural area where housing is cheaper. Here are some things you might want to consider before you head to the boonies:
There’s nothing like sitting in the sun on a deck in comfortable house in the middle of the woods with a gentle breeze carrying the sound of constant gunfire. I’m not talking the occasional shot from a hunting rifle; I’m talking neighbors exercising their right to turn their property into informal shooting ranges. For hours on end: pistols then assault rifles back to pistols. And of course if you complain, you might find yourself staring down the barrel of a gun. Complain to the local police? Hahahahahahaha.
Covalent with rural gun culture is rural pickup culture. Truck drivers in rural America drive with their brights on, constantly tailgate, and honk long and hard should you do something that inconveniences them, like waiting until it’s safe to pull into traffic. Pickup truckers were a**holes before the pandemic; since 2020, they’ve become intolerant and intolerable. Don’t even think of honking at them or, God forbid, giving them the finger. A woman I met last week did that and got purposely sideswiped into oncoming traffic, hit and run. She was in the hospital for weeks.
You know you’re in rural America when you order Chinese food and the first thing that hits the table is a basket of bread rolls. Depending upon where you live, you may be able to find, for example, a barely acceptable sushi bar within a half-hour drive, if you’re used to the variety and quality of food available in a big city, you’re about to be sadly disappointed. Not to worry though; you can probably find a Red Lobster or Olive Garden somewhere nearby.
There’s probably a local bar that has a live performer on weekend nights. Of course, the bartender will give you a blank stare if you order anything more complicated than an Old Fashioned and when the singing stops, the TVs over the bar will either be playing sports or Fox News. Strike up a conversation with the guy next to you if you’re curious about how a MAGA nut perceives the world. Then order a double because by that point you’ll want to be anesthetized.
There’s an art show at the town hall if you ever feel compelled to reassure yourself that the Bob Ross school of painting is still as influential as it was in the 1970s.
Suffice it to say that my wife, who teaches in a typically rural elementary school, found a bullet shell casing on the floor yesterday. It caused a bit of a ruckus, but occasioned no great surprise since everyone is fully aware that many of these children live in households where it’s considered completely normal to have loaded firearms within quick reach. Also see #1 above.
Sure, city building have cockroaches, but you don’t know creepy crawlies until you’ve picked up a towel in your downstairs bathroom and found 25 garden spiders ranging from half-an-inch across to the size of your toddler’s palm, all them scurrying for cover, including under your bare feet. Or suddenly come upon a black widow as large as a golf ball, looking like it belongs in a horror movie rather than the kitchen counter. Or opening your front door to find a 6″ albino walking stick with bright blue eyes staring at you. (Needless to say, these are all true stories.)
I’m not saying there aren’t some compensating advantages to living in the hinterlands, only that if you’re considering the migration, you might want to think about what you’ll be losing.