I live in Norwich. Like any other town, it has its pros and cons. And unfortunately, just like any other town, the pros can sometimes be overshadowed by the cons until over time, the charm that originally drew me to Norwich in the first place fades out, and whatís left are the things to complain about.
Sometimes I forget why I like living here. Donít get me wrong, I love it here. Thereís no place else Iíd rather call home. Still, all thatís good about a small, rural community can be so easily obscured by all thatís ... well, not so good. For instance, I like having a convenience store nearby, but I donít like feeling like Iíve crashed a pajama party every time I go there (no one wants to feel overdressed just because theyíre wearing pants). I like the everyday small town occurrence of a seeing a familiar face at the gas station; I donít like pumping gas and overhearing language that would make virgin ears bleed. I like living in a neighborhood where kids feel safe to ride their bikes. I donít like cruising main street, knowing that a kid can Ė and will Ė ride out in front of me the same way a deer jumps out on the back county roads (although I admit, Iím less timid about hitting some of those kids now than I was when I moved here three years ago. Whereas I once said a concerning ďOh my God, Iím going to run that kid over,Ē Iím now more apt to say a much more annoyed and almost determined ďOh my God, Iím going to run that kid overĒ).
At times, it seems that for every good thing there is to say about Norwich, thereís a list of negatives to counterbalance. As I said, that original charm of Norwich Ė just like anyplace else Ė can lose its luster after living here for so long.
So as a resident whoís still in love with this small city, I wonder what out-of-towners see. Have they ever brushed the back tire of a bicycle with the front end of their car? Have they ever pumped gas and seen the ďsalty-mouthed pajama gangĒ staking out their territory in the parking lot?
Earlier this week, I received a forwarded email from City Hall, originally sent by a gentleman who passed through Norwich via Route 12 on his way to Utica. In his email, Norwich is hailed as a small city with story-book appeal because of the historic allure of the Victorian homes that line Broad Street. He praises the people, the history, the clean atmosphere Ė the things that make Norwich a great place to call home.
So why is it that the people who live here, the people like me, can so easily lose sight of what this man saw? Why is it that passersby see that initial Norwich appeal better than those who travel the streets on a daily basis? My guess is that sometimes, itís necessary to have a fresh perspective to remind anyone why they love living here Ė to stand on the corner of main street, close their eyes, spin in a circle, then open them and see downtown as if for the first time.
In the end, I really believe thereís more to this town than a long list of criticisms and bitter remarks, and that a little pride can go along way. Now, if only the pajama wearers could feel the same way ...
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