We've been hearing a lot about small towns during the campaigns this year, ranging from Barack Obama's comment about bitter residents to Sarah Palin's service as a small-town mayor.
That means it might be a good time to find out whether you live in one. Community size is a consideration, of course, but these factors may be more relevant:
-- You can dial a wrong number, and still talk for 20 minutes.
-- Drivers don't use turn signals because everybody knows where they're going.
-- Off the top of your head, you don't know which key on your ring fits your front door.
-- When you're driving down the street and stop to talk to someone who's driving the other way, no one honks.
-- People stop for squirrels in the street.
-- Seldom are you asked for ID when you write a check.
-- And when you go to write the check and ask the date, there's an argument about what day it is.
-- The only thing in town that runs on time is the school, and that's because it has an automatic system to ring its bells at the appropriate times.
-- People don't read the local newspaper to find out who did what; they read it to find out who got caught.
-- You refer to locations by what they were when you moved to town -- i.e., "across from Woolworth's," even though that store closed 20 years ago.
-- You can predict an election by watching yard signs, and it's especially significant if you see a Republican sign in a Democratic yard, or vice-versa.
-- Your kids say there's nothing to do, and when they do do something, you hear about it before they get home.
-- You try to defend your long-time resident status by pointing out that your kids were born in your town, and hear a real old-timer reply that "Just because kittens were born in the oven, doesn't make them biscuits."