Sophisticated boom boom

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Life could be a lot simpler if we didn’t have ambitions to be regarded as “sophisticated”. I stood on a queue yesterday in a supermarket and listened to a man and woman having a long, involved conversation in a language I don’t understand. I could only hazard a guess that they were either from middle or Eastern Europe. When it was time for them to be dealt with by the attendant, I discovered that the woman also worked in the store and it was possibly the very first time the couple had spoken to each other. The man said, “She’s from my village” and the woman retorted in response, “I’m a city girl! I’m not from a village!”

It probably didn’t make a difference to anyone who was listening, but the woman wasn’t happy to be identified as someone who grew up in a village. Her attitude was probably rooted in the value judgements attached by many to the supposed lack of sophistication in village life. Why should anyone think that urban life is superior or more worthy of exposure than rural existence?

When I attended a family rites of passage event in my father’s hometown about a decade ago, I was impressed by the cleanliness of the streets and relatively civilised behaviour of the local people who I came across. I mentioned this to some of my siblings who were also present and they recoiled in horror at the idea that I could regard that particular setting as somehow more urbane than their beloved city. The fact that a community operates with a provincial mindset, doesn’t mean there is nothing worthy of emulation in its worldview.

Bringing matters closer to home, there are many things about living in London or similar cosmopolitan metropolises that are probably enviable and desirable. I like to go to bed at night knowing that I could be out partying in a wide range of clubs or other settings if I feel inclined to do so. There are also benefits to living in smaller communities that have fewer things to do.

If opportunities could be provided for  meetings of minds and exchanging of ideas about the pros and cons of urban versus rural lifestyles, would we have more respect for each other and have a more informed sense of what choices to make for the greater good when we vote in referendums and general elections?

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