Written by Sanford Begley
Rural vs Urban: Who Looks Ahead?
I started making breakfast this morning, I had a craving for gravy and biscuits. I started the oven preheating and opened the refrigerator to get out ingredients. No milk! For much of my life I have lived in rural areas and that would have meant an immediate change in breakfast plans, I would have no chance to get milk for a long time. Either a drive to the city or rounding up a cow and milking her. The drive to the city would have been easier BTW, milking a cow except at her accustomed time is difficult. If she isn’t used to being milked it is even worse.
Fortunately I didn’t have to do that; I popped over half a block and bought a gallon. One of the very best things about living in an urban environment is the ready availability of merchants and other vendors. As anyone who is a gamer knows, taking the goods from a slain bandit is often easier than finding a merchant that deals in armor, weapons, and clothing. You have to go to a village at least, and villages have limited gold to buy the stuff from you and even more limited goods to sell you.
Some of the places I have lived the nearest store was 20 minutes away and had a lesser selection than the average gas station convenience store, and many of the canned goods would have had expired dates on them. Oddly enough that remoteness from civilization is our goal. My wife and I prefer the benefits of rural life over the benefits of the city. If there are no stores, then again the gun you own is for wild animals, not the two legged ones of the city. Get outside of cities and HOAs cease to exist, as well as some busybody complaining that you didn’t mow your grass while you were gone for two weeks.
Ruminating about how not having what I needed on hand was no big deal living in a small city and how it would have been a problem living in the country got me to thinking. If you live in a rural area you plan things a lot more. My wife lived in Tok, Alaska as a girl. Some shopping trips planned to buy groceries for months at a time. At that, the choices were limited. Those of us living in a metropolitan area are used to having fresh fruit and vegetables year round. If you have a craving for something exotic you can browse the foreign food aisle of your favorite grocery, or just stop at the new Thai place that opened downtown last week. Those living a more rural lifestyle may not be able to see those things in season. Ask someone who has lived in a relatively primitive area what isn’t available , it will surprise you.
So rural people routinely plan anywhere from a week to a year in advance for the simplest of purchases. They may actually order something two to three years before they need it if it isn’t normally available. Since they often raise much if not all of their own food they order the seed for next spring’s planting before they get this years in the ground. If the bull is getting on in years they choose his successor this year so he will be full grown when it is time to take over the duties of the herd. Plowing must be done in the fall in order to compost the vegetation plowed under before replowing in the spring for the next planting. A farmer can tell you what he will be working on any month of the year, plowing in spring, harvesting in late summer early fall, slaughtering at the advent of winter.
Urban people usually don’t need to plan that far in advance routinely. They usually have a job which won’t be much different in one month than any other. Oh, they may have busier times and slower times, the stores may carry sleds in the fall and bicycles for Christmas, but in general they will do the same things. And if the city folk forget an item at the store it is a simple matter to pick it up after work tomorrow. For the majority of urban dwellers the only real planning they do in any given year is where to go for vacation. Their life doesn’t depend on foresight. This is the real difference between the two lifestyles.