Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Problem with a Small Town

Hopefully, you've just read about my hospital experience below.  If you haven't, read that first then come back here.

We love where we live, but it is a far cry from New York City and its lovely anonymity.  Here, I'll see the same person 3 times a day - and this person lives on the other side of the island!  I used to live in the same building as good friends of ours and could go 3 weeks without seeing them.  I also used to be able to roll out of bed and walk my dog in the morning - PJs on, breath all stinky, eyes still caked shut and not worry about running into people.  Here, I know I'll see at least one person I have to have a conversation with during Victor's 7am bathroom break.

This small town lack of privacy was hugely exacerbated during my recent medical issues.  Here's how:

1. As I'm being loaded into the ambulance, the security guy in my building comes running out, pokes his head into the ambulance and asks what's going on.  V and I give him a short run-down and I just know this news will be all over our building by tomorrow night.  (I know this because I get my best gossip from one of the security guards!)
**This would be the same in NYC.  Our building guys were the biggest gossips.

2. There are frequent "Anybody know why an ambulance was called to Onda Court?"-like postings on The Forum every day.  These are inevitably followed by 20 posts with various theories, rumors and very rarely factual reports.  It's an online version of Pearl from 227  - hangin out the window in everybody's business. I just couldn't wait to read what they were going to say about me.
**No one else on the Upper West Side would have any inkling (or care) about my situation.

3. I go to our local doctor's office here for a follow-up visit and am seen by the nurse who just so happens to be in all of my exercise classes.  So now she knows all my business.
**I never saw my NYC nurses or doctors anywhere but inside their offices.

4. A woman I'm doing some charity work with also works in the doctor's office as a receptionist - so now there's a chance that everyone else on the planning committee know what's up with me.  (To be fair, I don't think she'd ever say anything, but it's going to be weird sitting across from her during meetings knowing she knows my medical business.)
**People at work in NYC only knew what I chose to share with them.

While I do love where we live, in situations like this I crave the anonymity of a big city.

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