Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday on a Little Big City

I'm not so concerned about Internet predators, partially because I'm a naturally reckless person, and partially because it would be hard to write this post and not be extremely specific about where I live.

If you've never been to Alabama, good; you're really not missing anything. I'll start with what you probably know about - Rosa Parks and civil rights. Surprisingly (or not), I never actually think about these things unless I'm on the outside looking in from a different perspective.

So, let's go with a native's perspective, shall we?

I live in Montgomery, Alabama, the capital and second largest city in the state right after Birmingham. It doesn't seem like I live in a big city, since most natives have their own bubbles that they thrive in and rarely venture out. However, with a population of around 200,000, you can't deny the fact that you live with a ton of people.

Even more specifically, I don't exactly live in Montgomery; yet, my entire life is there. I live about 10 miles outside the city limits in the countryside, so it's just a short drive into school and other places I go. I attend a small private Christian school (K-12) with about 1,000 other people.

Fact: It's quite boring.

When people out of state (who have never been to Alabama) first hear I live in Montgomery, they say something along the lines of, "Oh, har har, hillbilly country," which I guess is true to some extent. But the hillbillies don't live in Montgomery. My definition of a hillbilly is a person who resides in the hills and lives on a farm; ergo, we have none. Unfortunately, Montgomery is home to thousands of rednecks that I come into contact with every day.

The correct definition of a redneck is a poor white farmer, but Montgomery natives have seemingly adapted it to fit themselves. Many of the guys in my grade at school are self-identified "rednecks" who go "mud-riding" on the weekends with all camouflage they can find in their closets. This is what gives Montgomery a bad rap. While I would love to tell you that we don't house all the stupid people in America, the truth is, we come pretty close.

Montgomery's racial tension is awful. Hate crimes committed on both sides are rarely reported on in the news, but they happen often.

Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant side of life here, I'll tell you about the good things. Montgomery is home to one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the world, and they put on around 7 productions a year. I've been to so many I've lost count, but the plays are so impressionable that I can remember every one that I've seen.

I also enjoy the somewhat "small town feel" that you get in Montgomery. While I don't live in a small town, per se, you really can't go anywhere without seeing someone you know. Whether they're from school, church, or they work in a place where you often go (Books-a-Million for me), people recognize you and give you a smile.

We're home to thousands of restaurants, two movie theaters, two bookstores, 6 private schools, and countless public schools; and while I don't plan to spend the rest of my life here, I'm enjoying Montgomery for the time being.