I have no idea what it’s like to grow up in a small town. And there are two reasons for this.
For starters, I didn’t grow up in a single town. I grew up in two, and neither of them were particularly small. But neither of them were ‘big’ either. I’d say there were about medium.
Sault Ste. Marie was a nice enough little border town, twinned with its American neighbour. I remember once getting a kick out of doing a bit of ‘international travelling’ over my lunch break, because my mother decided we’d have lunch across the border. It seemed almost surreal. And Sault Ste. Marie was also a major port of call across the Great Lakes, connecting Superior to Huron. So it had enough of an industry, specifically the giant steelworks that you’d get a great view of while travelling over the international bridge, which gave the town a sizable population. And it was big enough that you couldn’t possibly know everyone. But it was also too small to have anything interesting going on. I’m remember we had a museum, but I also remember that I lived in houses that were bigger than that thing. I also remember I lived in a lot of houses.
Then, when I was around 11, craziness happened and I moved to Sudbury. A much larger town, with much more going on, including a very large science centre that I used to spend entire days at. But it also had much less sophistication. A real hick town. I blame the mines.
And now, I live in the big city! Oshawa! Part of the GTA (apparently)! And I actually like it here. My only wish was that it was easier to get around. If only I didn’t melt my car last year.
But I’ve passed through small towns, and I’ve met people who’ve lived in them, so I know they exist.
You know what I mean by ‘small town’ right? One main/high street where every business is located, surrounded by side streets filled with houses, one or two schools, and a church because every town needs one apparently. And with such a small population, it’s like the Cheers bar grew and mutated to 100 times its original size.
You know the Cheers bar right? You’ve seen Cheers… Where everybody knows your naaaaame… Right?
Anyway, it’s a place where everyone knows everyone. It’s peaceful, and quaint, and nothing bad ever happens. Or at least, that’s the stereotype, init?
In our culture, small towns are romanticized. They’re quaint little places, with tightly knit communities, and where everyone can trust anyone, and the biggest possible crisis would be the time when Mrs. Fielding found out she might not have enough yeast for the bake sale.
But is that accurate? Probably. But in even in the land of sugar and friendship, they got a few bad apples, so it’s likely that even in the coziest of small towns, you have a few pieces of rotten fruit. Perhaps not apples, but some type of plant-matter. But even then, exactly how bad can it get?
The murder of an eleven-year-old boy… Well, that’s pretty bad.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Broadchurch. Continue reading