Monday, December 28, 2009

The Gossip Belt

The part of The County that I live in is known locally as "The Bible Belt" because of its large population percentage wise of churchgoers and the affect they have on the local area. Alcohol is not served or sold on Sundays in this stretch of The County, for example.

I think its all fine and good to call it The Bible Belt, but I think in reality it should be called The Gossip Belt.

Trust me, I'm getting as good at it as anyone.

I noticed from my first visit to The County (one year ago yesterday, to be exact) that this was the norm, as I imagine it is in most rural areas. When you live in a closed society, so to speak, what is happening within that society is important.

Of course this means that I now know far more than I really ever should have known about the people around me. Because here in The Gossip Belt, it is not uncommon to have piece of gossip - "Can you believe she's cheating on him with so and so?" - lead into the distant past - "I'm not surprised. I remember when she stole Amanda Smith's boyfriend in the 10th Grade by offering to 'tutor him'. She's always been that way." - then into distant family history - "I was told her father used to have two women on the side when he was a trucker going downstate, so its no surprise she turned out this way".

I choose to look at it as a positive. I get to learn everyone's names, for one, because I'm the slow guy at the table. "Who is she?" I'll ask and get the answer - "Oh, you know. She drives the white ford van and has the little kid that always wears a parka, even in Summer. You saw her at Thanksgiving at The Restaurant. She was at the table with the three kids that ate the crayons." So I have decided to use it as my who's who education here.

Of course, that leads me to worry about what is being said about me, naturally. In reality, though, what really can be said about me? I'm half of the only openly gay couple around these parts, so in most people's minds, they already know the "dirtiest" thing they can know about me, although many people still seem to think its odd that I'm not hiding what they must think of as a hush hush secret a little better. Other than that, I think most of the gossip centers around me working for "liberals". I figure it'll take another year or so for the really juicy rumors to start.

I'll keep my ear to the ground for you.

11 comments:

Archerr said...

I'm glad I live an suburban area where you actually don't know the people around you. I'd be worried what they are staying too.

You could start your own rumors about yourself. :)

froggy said...

The Engineer grew up in a small farming town. The principal of the school learned never to say, 'well you must be Bob's son, you look just like him when he was in school!' Well, it turned out that said boy was not, officially, the son of Bob, for the sake of the birth certificate and all...

Al In The County said...

Archerr - I don't have the imagination necessary to start my own rumors, but I'll work on it. :)

Froggy - I heard a similar story here. For such good church goin' folk, there sure is a lot of illegitimacy going on.

Miss Healthypants said...

That is a good point about your "secret" already being out in the open. I've heard that the best way to stop people from talking smack about you is to beat them to the punch and tell them all the "dirty" stuff about yourself. :)

Miss Healthypants said...

P.S. Although I admire your "taking on the country," I prefer living in the city, where I know hardly anyone, and they don't know me. There's a certain freedom in anonymity. :)

Al In The County said...

Healthypants - There definitely is a wonderful freedom in the anonymity of the city that I miss. But the tradeoff for me is worth it. Gotta tell ya, it probably wouldn't have been 5 years ago, though.

I definitely can see why people decide to move home to rural areas when they get older rather than when they are younger.

Joy said...

Yes, it's like that here. Everybody knows too much but will be there to help when you need it.

Berry Blog said...

I'm down here in Mechanic B'God Falls, and suffering enough. You guys, I hear are getting hammered day in and day out with snowstorms this winter.
I have never been particularly closeted nor open about being gay, but two youngsters next door have sort of blown the neighborhood open a bit.Can't say it has changed anything at all at least in the open.
More than anything, I will be known most for being "from away" even as a maine-iac born and bred. after 25 years, I do enjoy a warm standing with the library, the grocery store, and have dibs on story sharing at the local barber shop-now the top gossip center since the beauty parlor next door closed.
Love visiting your blog.
xoxo Charlie

Jim said...

Hey Al... where you been? I just named you as one of muy favorite bloggers: http://jima828.blogspot.com/2010/01/kreativ-award.html

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