I went into the city today. I had to get my eyeballs checked and prefer the big city doctors to the suburban MDs. I used to work and live in the city and some times I miss it enormously. I miss the activity, the liveliness, the motion. I have landed in the suburbs for both day job and abode and although the suburbs have their merits, they are sleepy and quiet all the time. Sure there is the occasional raccoon in the garbage to wake you up at night or the plethora of birds singing at sunrise but for the most part I’ve found the suburbs to be mainly uneventful. Fortunately I get into the city several times a month but those trips are usually comedy work and rarely recreational. Today I recreated a bit.
I always time my annual eye check up first thing, first patient actually, so I can a) beat the traffic in and b) when my appointment is over I can see the hustle and bustle of people arriving in the city for work. I see the sharply dressed men in dark colored suits and women getting off the train in sneakers carrying bags with beautiful high heels hidden inside. I see brief cases and messenger bags, trench coats and stylish jackets. The people stand straight with city posture and city pride. There are travel mugs in hand and Starbucks cups and fruit being eaten on the run. There’s a sense of hope and expectation. There is life.
I now work in the suburbs with free parking for the minivans and beaten up sedans. In the suburbs people carry paper bag lunches and wear worn out shoes. They have hair styles from decades prior and arm fat that hangs down over their elbows. There’s no skip in a step but rather a drudgery in the slow and defeated pace. There’s no hope of some glorious future but rather a yearning for the glory days of the past. The lunchroom discussion isn’t of current events or trends but rather of mowing the lawn and arguments with spouses.
I sit and am part of this everyday and watch. I see what I hope not to become. I don’t want to ever be settled in, coasting along. I want to always feel that city vibrance. I carry that with me in my soul, the living, the growth, the motion. To me once that is gone, then the end is surely near. But in case I ever do give up at least I’ve got free parking and quiet neighbors to drown in.