Nosy Hangouts

I live in a city that is tightly clinging to its small town origins. We’re part of the metropolitan capital, but we’re along the eastern border, practically along the outskirts, so we’ve managed to hold on to our quirks and peculiarities.

We’re actually your typical small town. We know who the founding families are. If you’re really from here, you’ll be identified for your last name and then relegated to your clan. If you’re really from here, you’re related to everybody else, either by blood or marriage. If you’re really from here, then you have that funny little intonation that makes our way of talking distinct from the neutral and polished sound heard in the capital.

Of course we’re not the only people living in this city these days. We have residents who come from different parts of the country, even the world. They’re welcome, but unless they successfully assimilate our ways, they’ll always be labeled outsiders. They definitely cannot throw their weight around, no matter how rich and influential they are. It’s our way or the highway. What can we say? That’s a small town for you. Except that we’re technically a city. Oh well, who cares about technicalities? Certainly not us small town folk.

Does this sound like bullying to you? Come on! We’re not asking for much. Basically, to be like a local yokel, you only need to care. And by care, I mean be a busybody. That means poking your nose into everybody’s business.

This is really easy to do. Most of the time, all you have to do is stand outside your front door and gossip will come walking up your driveway. In our small town, we deliver our gossip hot and fresh straight to your doorstep. But if you’re the type to actively seek out the hottest news, then you should make the following spots your favorite haunts:

· The diner — You don’t even have to talk to anybody. You just need to keep your hearing sharp so you can get some waffles with a side of the latest scoop. Oh, give it up. Everybody eavesdrops. Still, it’s more fun when you can put in your two cents’ so strike up a conversation with the regulars and get ready for a gossip session.

· The park/plaza — Go where the seniors congregate and learn all the town’s secrets. Except that with them being common knowledge, they’re not really secrets anymore, just something that is not talked about. Except that everybody’s also talking about it. The point is that these spots are veritable fountains of knowledge. Of course, there’s a good chance that the stuff you’re picking up is several decades old, but if you truly appreciate gossip, you’ll find ancient ones just as juicy.

· The hair salon/barber shop — There’s just something about the smell of hair products and the drone of a blow drier that gets people’s tongues wagging. In all this, remember to keep things light. If you find yourself getting vicious, then you’ve crossed over to the dark side.

We’re all very interested in each other’s business, but we try to keep malice out of it. Unless we need to take sides, then we’re rallying around the underdog. There must be better ways to pass the time, but this one makes you belong.

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