Monday, November 26, 2007

decisions, decisions


I always forget how rural Northern Kentucky really is. When asked if I know the way to Edgewood or other outlying towns, I have a tendency to give answers like, “I only know Covington.” That’s not really true. I’m very familiar with all of the riverside towns. I’ve even made it out to Florence on occasion. But until I’m sitting in a local pub, and a farmer walks in wearing his Carhartt jacket, I just plain forget that we’re surrounded by farmland dotted with small towns.

So now, thinking about moving to Oregon, I’ve been pretty focused on Portland. It’s the hub of everything, really. All of the shops, restaurants and culture you could want. I thought it was just what I wanted. But I also have to wonder… what would small-town life be like for this wide-eyed observer?

There are a number of pre-war bungalows for sale along the coast in Oregon for really reasonable prices. If you aren’t set on having an ocean view (though many of them do), you could pick one up for next to nothing.

I even asked my brother, who thinks living on the coast would be the coolest, what he’d think about trading houses with me on the weekends (he’s in Portland). Then I could see my friends, worship at Macy’s, and check out what’s new at the art museum whenever I felt like it. His (sweet) response: "you could come in whenever you felt like it no matter what I'm doing."

One problem, if I’m moving back primarily to be close to family, living on the north coast (that’s the area I like) might be too far removed to get much quality time with everyone. Though moving to Portland already puts a buffer of an hour or more between me and most of my family, this would tack on even more time to the drive.

Then again. My parents live on the coast and they have people dropping in every weekend. And their little town isn’t convenient to anything, really.

I’ve always harbored a fantasy about living in a resort area. Being a townie, and laughing at all of the tourists. And I can pretty much live wherever I want. That’s sort of the whole point of being self employed. And Portland isn’t so far away that I couldn’t buzz in for a meeting, if necessary.

What I’m wondering today… If you live in a small town, what do you like about it? How far away from a big city do you live? Do you feel like anything is lacking? Is it idyllic, or annoying? Do you get tired of seeing the same people all of the time?

I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, which is about 150,000 plus college students. That’s a small town, from my perspective. I felt stifled when I lived there. But maybe that’s because I felt like I knew everyone, or everyone knew me. Six degrees of separation drops to one degree, when you have seven well-known brothers and sisters. It made me crazy sometimes.

But now that I’ve lived in and around a major metro for years and years, maybe a change is in order.

Have I lost it completely? Or does this sound like a pretty good idea? Oh, and this isn’t a new idea, BTW. My original plan was always to set up in Portland for a year or two and then move to Astoria or Seaside to settle down. My brother did mention my other worry (he knows me well); I tend to be somewhat solitary, especially with working from home. I almost have to force myself to get out as it is. So living in Portland would potentially allow me to meet a lot more people than if I lived in a small town. Decisions, decisions.

Your thoughts, dear readers?