I grew up in a rural area. I like hiking. I know how to put up a tent and start a fire. But the lovely people who live in Front Royal, Va., are good; they can smell the city folk from two blocks away. Last weekend some friends and I rented a cabin for a little R&R, which included a couple trips into town. Here’s what I learned:
1. Don’t Buy Firewood. This is a dead giveaway. After an unsuccessful fire from the soggy wood we chopped with random tools we found in the basement—including a mini chainsaw, a sledgehammer, and something called a wedge—we went searching for wood to buy. We found it at a 7-Eleven. And we got heckled. Actually, we got passively heckled. Two guys getting in their car had a very loud conversation that went something like this: “Shit! They’re buying firewood!” “Oh my god, I can’t believe it! They’re buying firewood?!” Not enjoyable.
2. Don’t Buy Fancy Coffee. OK, this one should be obvious. But if a town has a cafe, it seems reasonable to stop by it and buy a cappuccino. We did this. As we were walking down the sidewalk of this sleepy town, there were suddenly people hanging out every window (or so it seemed) making fun of us and our coffee. Much laughing ensued.
3. Don’t Take Pictures of the Anti-Abortion Signs. It’s hard to resist, especially with gems like: “If you can read this sign, you weren’t aborted.” But I’m pretty sure we got a nasty stare from a guy on his dirt bike.
4. Don’t Drive a Rented Chevy Impala. Enough said.