At what point does a resident of a given town stop being a "resident" and become a "townie"?
There's a Greek restaurant down the street that appears to have been built from the ashes of a gutted White Castle. You enter the place, order your kebob or gyro from the counter upfront, retire to a booth and eventually the food is delivered to your table. They have a liquor license and have no problem serving an entire carafe of vin blanc, ordinaire..to a solo diner for consumption with his moussaka or grape leaves platter, complete with chunky, cut glass goblets - the kind you might find stored in your church basement for "functions". This is not a place that thrives on the strength of its liquor license. Particularly when you figure that if you order a solitary bottle of beer and want another one, you have to get back in line at the counter to order another one. Kind of becomes a buzzkill.
The selling point of the place, in my opinion, is the large townie contingent that gathers nightly in the place. They settle in a flock over the breadth of the restaurant. They have no problem shouting over your head to some other flock member across the room "Hey, how's it going? How was Melissa's soccer practice? You going to the play at the high school tonight? Yeah? Oh, no my wife's over visiting her sister." Why walk over and have the conversation in a normal, civilized fashion? After all, everybody knows everybody else, right? Consequently, having a conversation about how little Billy's just got his first karate belt, coupled with and further discussion about how all the women in the house seem to all be getting their period at the same time at an 11 volume is just normal townie pack behavior. Oh and don't forget to mention how Dad is getting those polyps looked at.
We're not sure where the polyps were, but that's ok. We were eating.
I can't get Mr. Scoop back into the place. Despite the excellent people watching the venue provided, the old folk and running toddler contingent was more than he wanted to deal with. And the "getting in line for beer" nonsense was something neither of us had to put up with since college "all campus parties". It's one thing to have to get up repeatedly to get beer; it's another thing entirely if you have to step over a drooling person who isn't a college kid in a dorm to do it. The elderly also appear to really hate it if you draw penises on their faces just because it looks like they've passed out.
And, I don't know if you've noticed, but Mr. Scoop and I aren't really "people" persons. The whole, collective consciousness of townie culture - I know you, you know me, my neighbor's sister blew your cousin's lacrosse team - is a bit too stifling for us. I'm more than happy to go to the dive bar on the corner and drink in collective anonymity in the dark with Mr. Scoop until they turn on the lights at closing time and make us scurry like so many rats into the night. We can wake up the next day around 11 AM and wander over to the breakfast place, also Greek, and get eggs and pancakes.
Until the guy at the stool next to us looks at us, raises his coffee cup and says, "Hey! Sam Adams and Amstel Light! How's it going?"