Thursday, 17 October 2013

5 things you shouldn't do in a big city, if you're from a small town.

Since moving to Madrid I have noticed a few differences between living here and living back home in Killorglin. There are certain things you do in a small town that you just shouldn't when you move to a big city.

#1 Crossing the road

Back home in Killorglin, if I want to cross the road I needn't go to a pedestrian crossing to do it. I can just walk half way across, salute the drivers as they slow down and then cross the rest of the way, simple. But I wouldn't dare try it here (even if you do go to a pedestrian crossing, drivers are still likely to attempt vehicular manslaughter) where this is more likely to happen!

#2 Asking names of relatives

A fairly common practice in most small towns in Ireland (probably in the bigger ones too). You meet someone new and question the family tree in an attempt to make a connection.

Isn't your Grandfather related to yer man who used to own the glass hammer shop?
Yes he's be a 5th cousin of my uncles wifes friends neighbour!

But doing it here comes across a wee bit stalkerish so is probably best to just stick to getting to know the person before getting the in-depth family details.

#3 Blaming a tractor for you being late

It's happened to all us country folk! You overslept but you can still just about make it to work on time, but, oh no there's Jackie out with the tractor on the one stretch of road that's only wide enough for one car, and of course his field is right down at the other end of it.

He even has the nerve to be happy about it! Dammit Jackie!
Unfortunately that excuse won't cut it in the big city and if you try to use it you can probably start packing your bags there and then.

I swear boss, hundreds of tractors, I couldn't get past!

#4 Having a conversation with the Cashier

In a small town where a) you know the cashier personally and b) there isn't a big que behind you, this is quite acceptable and even encouraged. However, in a big city there is likely to be a big que and you won't know the person behind the counter so it's probably best to just buy your stuff and go. 

I can only force this smile for so long, please leave
(Source :

#5 Greeting everyone in the street

Okay, there are a couple of reasons you shouldn't do this. Firstly, logistically speaking, in Madrid you walk past hundreds (thousands even) of people each day so it would be physically exhausting. 
Secondly,  in a small town there is a chance (a likelihood really) that the people you greet either know you or your family, even if you don't know them. In a big city, they won't, don't worry about offending anyone. 

Oh hi, who the hell are you?
And lastly, it looks weird, people will stare at you, assume you're insane and call the guys with the white coats and the big needle to cart you off to the nuthouse. They are used to just talking to their own friends, not being acosted by an over-eager stranger with a funny accent.