Everything you forgot about your hometown while at uni
Your neighbours still have England flags in their windows
Some people say the only constant in life is change. I say these people have never gone off to uni, then returned to their sleepy home counties village one year later to find that the place is locked in a never-ending Groundhog Day and that literally nothing has changed.
Sometimes this similarity can be comforting, sometimes it just shows that your hometown is as stagnant as your future. Either way, here are some of the things about your hometown which will definitely not have changed.
Local pubs are depressing
The same place that seemed so exciting when you had just turned 18 now seems so lifeless.
The shrivelled old man in a flat cap sits on his usual bar stool, nursing what you think is the same pint you saw him with when you last visited at Christmas.
A guy wearing trackies is putting yet another quid into the fruit machine, convinced that this will be the lucky spin. They always smell slightly of damp even when it’s been dry for weeks.
Get me back to the union bar.
Hometown clubs are even more depressing
Nostalgia has whittled your year 13 clubbing days down the gems, and you’ve always insisted that your local club isn’t actually that bad.
You brave it on a Friday night to find a sea of year 12s sipping WKDs mixed with 45-year-old divorcees called Julie who refuse to let go of their glory days when they got with a member of some terrible 80s band. Go home to your kids, Julie.
Everything is really far away
Group meetups at uni are easy: just drop “Pub?” on the group chat and within 15 minutes you can all be enjoying a drink together.
At home, any kind of group activity needs to be a coordinated effort planned weeks in advance in order to ensure availability, lifts, and more.
Public transport is the worst thing in the world
Once you’ve finally organised one of these trips, you will have to navigate rural public transport.
You’ll rummage through the kitchen drawer, dig out a bus timetable and wait patiently for the 12:06 into town, only to later realise that timetable expired in 2004 and the bus now only comes on the second Tuesday of every third month once a goat has been sacrificed to the parish council.
Your parents get fed up with you really quickly
They will act like they’re delighted to have you back, and pretend your life will be blissful for the next few months. Do not fall for their trap.
Within days you’ll be coerced into all sorts of chores, and endless pestering about your career plans and relationships. “It’s worth it to live rent-free”, you will lie to yourself.
There is nothing to do for fun
What did you even do for entertainment as a kid? You’ve been home for three days and you have somehow watched every episode of Friends three times on Comedy Central.
How did you manage to sit in the park with your mates for hours on end when you were younger?
The old people still hate you, even though you’re not a teenager anymore
The lady who always turned her lights off on Halloween is outside tending to her rhododendrons. “Evening Maureen!” you say as cheerfully as possible as you walk past (your mum told you to be nice to her seeing as her cat died while you were away).
She still hasn’t forgiven you for the time you broke her garden gnome with a stray football. “Not at work then, Daniel?” she hisses, somehow looking down her nose at you despite being roughly four feet tall.
“Haha, not today!” you say. “I’m glad Tiddles died,” you think.
Your neighbours are still as racist
Your town plays host to approximately three ethnic minority families and the most diverse thing about it is the Chinese takeaway, yet the whole place is covered with “VOTE LEAVE” posters.
Immigrants are not stealing your jobs, Gary-from-down-the-road, nobody will hire you because you failed your GCSEs after you spent your school days smoking behind the canteen.
You feel a strange and shameful mix of sadness and smugness when you see your friend from school who didn’t go to uni still working the same menial part-time job and you realise how much you’ve outgrown them and you are thankful that you have at least partially escaped the black hole that is your hometown while they will probably be stuck here literally forever and have three kids with Megan from school and eat the same takeaway every Saturday night until they die sad and unfulfilled
Yeah uni was good thanks, Steve.
Villages don’t have Snapchat geofilters
How is my story meant to pop off if I can’t let my friends know my exact location?
It can actually be quite nice sometimes
You’re walking the dog on a sunny evening and you see the park bench where you had your first kiss, the village hall you threw up in after someone smuggled vodka into a 15th birthday party, the school playground where you became Beyblade champion.
We all like to moan about how shit our hometowns are, but you owe it for getting you to where you are today. It might be the nostalgia talking, but sometimes it’s actually an alright place to be.