This page copyright 1999 The Shrubbery
From the last paragraph in Susan Andrews's, "Why I'm Leaving God's Country":
So if you don't mind a place where days of past glory are coddled like an egg and people may care mostly about who you've been, you may enjoy small town life. As for me, I'm headed back to the big, bad, smelly city, where people may show a polite interest in your past--but an even stronger interest in who you are now. And who you're going to be in the future.
Comparing a sleepy small town to a booming metropolis is like associating high school to college and/or university. For instance, in the beginning of high school, cliques have already established themselves from grade school. If you want to make it in, you have to become the clique. The above attitude is adopted by most "minor niners". Grade niners are at an age where their insecurities can be soothed by knowing that they're well liked by fellow peers. These little, incestuous groups range from the elite clique to the group of outcasts. To be a member of the 'A' group you must be willing to be a follower unless you can compete with the current leader. However, present numbers of the elitists frown upon a newcomer, thinking that he or she runs the show.
While in the 'A' group, you must learn to watch your back at all times, because you never know when your slip up with 'Johnny' on Friday night will come back and haunt you. The 'A' group is the grapevine that hears all evil, sees all evil and will not hesitate to repeat all evil. Beware! For this group is notorious for spreading rumours!! Just like who you were is an important piece of information for small town folk, what you do and/or say to someone marks who you are forever in an elitist group.
It is not until the later years in high school that the pariahs of the 'A' group (the non- judgmental, non-conformist, free ones) discover that the true outcasts are really group 'A' in disguise. The outcasts are the ones who best represent big city people, because of their carefree attitude. These people can say, "So what if I don't go to the Prom with Johnny? Is that really a measure of me as a person?" These are the types of people who are light years ahead of their time in attitude and maturity.
So next year when I go off to university in the big, bad, smelly city, I already know that no one at university, including myself, will really care about who I was in high school in the small town of Bolton.
(Bolton is a small town about an hour north of Toronto, Canada, Jen is hoping to go to university in the nice big smelly city)