1. Spending 15 minutes putting together a chic designer ensemble to go pick up bananas and cereal at the supermarket, only to find that everyone there is wearing sweatpants and flip-flops.
  2. Walking into your local convenience store and being surprised by the absence of Utz potato chips, loosie cigarettes, a deli counter, black plastic bags, and a tabby cat slinking down the aisle.
  3. Telling somebody at a party that you’re a writer/artist/poet/musician, and them actually treating you like you’re special.
  4. Assuming any cocktail on a menu for under $13 must be a typo.
  5. Realizing that there are places where $11 an hour actually is a living wage.
  6. Going out on the roof to get some fresh air and having your neighbor call 911 because they think your house is on fire.
  7. Remembering the freedom you had to come and go at any time, knowing that the subway would be along roughly every five minutes. Now, knowing that your friend Aaron will be along in his dad’s Chevy truck sometime tonight, if he feels up to it, to give you a ride, but only if you can crash there because he’ll be too wasted to drive you home.
  8. For the first time since you were five, actually ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ when you drive by a field of cows.
  9. Wishing you could see Dr. Zizmor’s obnoxious subway ads one more time, if only it meant a reprieve from those obnoxious religious billboards lining I-35.
  10. The only drugstores in town close at 6 pm. What is this, Europe?
  11. The only pizza places in town cut their pies into squares. What is this, Chicago?
  12. In New York, walking for 10 minutes and being in reach of the greatest landmarks, restaurants, and attractions in the world. Now, walking for 10 minutes and still being in the middle of nowhere.
  13. Hearing crickets at night and realizing they are more than just a TV comedy gag.
  14. Going from casually spotting movie actresses partying at downtown clubs to being starstruck when you encounter your county commissioner picking up a pair of pants at the dry cleaners.
  15. Wondering why this cold, white substance has been covering the sidewalks for more than three hours now, and whether you should be worried.
  16. Training yourself out of automatically reaching for your keys whenever you go to get the mail.
  17. Your mail carrier leaving a package on your front stoop, actually expecting it to be there when you get home–and it is!
  18. Missing the way that creeper outside the subway stop used to whistle and yell “Hey, gorgeous” every morning, because at least then you had somebody to talk to on the way to work.
  19. Being shocked when the ice cream truck actually passes by your window instead of parking there for all day, playing its annoying tune on a continuous loop.
  20. Actually going weeks at a time only seeing people of your own race.
  21. Actually using your driver’s license for anything other than getting into a bar.
  22. Being able to walk down out of a bar with an open cup without getting chewed out by the bouncer–even if it’s just water.
  23. Finally being able to travel because you don’t have to spend 95 percent of your paycheck just to afford to live in New York.
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