21 April 2006

City Life



As my time here in Boston comes to an end, I have been reflecting on life in the big city. Before any of you other city dwellers jump down my throat, I'll clarify; yes I think Boston is a big city. It's the biggest city I have ever lived in--so it's a city. I never really considered myself a country kid until I spent considerable time in cities and realized, they are a foreign land to me. I still catch myself staring up at the tops of the buildings I walk by. I've been passing these buildings almost daily for two years now, and I still look up in awe--my neck cranked all the way back, forcing my jaw open in a constant "aaahhh" It's weird and embarrassing--but what in my life isn't. Anyway--I've come up with a list of top reasons I’ll miss Boston (e.g. city life) and top reasons I'm happy to get out. We'll start with the positive--Reasons I love Boston/City life
1. Public Transit. In America, you are pretty much safe to say that unless you live in a major city, relying on public transit is difficult and odd. I have lived here two years, and know for a FACT that having a car would be far more taxing then not. I am PERFECTLY happy using the "T" (e.g. what we call the subway), and LOVE how convenient it is. I can go anywhere--anywhere. I love it.
2. Squirrels. Do you know how to tell a city kid from a country kid? Take them to a city park, the one that is fascinated by the squirrels is from the country. Works every time. Everyone I know from cities consider squirrels tree rodents, whereas us transplants LOVE them. I cant' explain for everyone else why this is, but for myself i love their attitude. I like any animal with an attitude. I have two favorite squirrels actually (or maybe they are chipmunks, who knows?). The first lives outside my window. He is albino. I am not kidding, he's all white. My landlord said he'd been around for a few years. I have a shelf outside my window that at one point in time held an AC, but now it serves as whitey's podium. He'll jump up there and start yelling. I'm not sure if its me or his fellow squirrels, but he'll rant for a good five minutes fists flying for effect, then jaunt home. The second guy, I initially felt bad for. There is a park near my home, nice little historical site. There are many large old trees, Red Oaks to be exact. They house many squirrels. One particular tree sits near a main sidewalk--in this tree lives gimpy. Gimpy was obviously attacked by someone--as his hind left leg has a scar on it and doesn't seem to function well. I felt bad for the chap, until I got to know him; I now think he provoked whoever got him. One day while on my way home, a chestnut hit me in the head. I looked up in surprise to see Gimpy standing on the branch, hands on his hips, laughing. I swear on my life he was laughing. Since then I have watched and seen many people hit with the same routine, he's a surprisingly good shot. In a nut shell, big fan of the squirrels. Oh, and Dad don't be too impressed by my tree knowledge, they are labeled.
3. Art/theatre/culture. There are 63 Universities/Colleges in the Boston metropolitan area (whatever that means). I do know that at any given moment there is something wicked cool going on; lectures, seminars, shows, exhibits, etc etc. The bulk of them are free, even better--and they draw amazing people. My only regret, as a student, you just have to say no sometimes and suck it up and go to the class you paid a kagillion dollars in tuition for. But someday I would like to live in this area NOT as a student, so I could go to these things. Amazing.
4. Anonymity. I love the Anonymity of cities. I love that if I walk out of the two block radius of my school, the odds of me seeing someone I know are practically nill. I really like it. I dont' know why, but to just walk around as an anonymous person--it's very relaxing for me. I know it's sounds crazy, but you should expect nothing less by now.

On to the things I WILL NOT miss about Boston/City life:
1. People--It's crowded. I am generally not in the crowded areas, and don't commute during rush hours on the T (I head downtown WAY early to miss the crowd), but those times when I am stuck in the rush it's suffocating. I knew this time in Boston would be short term, so that is probably how I put up with it, but it would take some serious getting used to if had to live here or in another city full time. Too many people.
2. Lights. Did you know kids in cities don't need nightlights? Well that's my guess anyway, because it NEVER gets dark. I discovered this last year when I first moved here. I have never experienced this phenomenon. As a child, if there was light coming through my window one of two things was happening 1-it was a full moon or 2-my dad was outback irrigating our garden and lawn. But here, there is ALWAYS light coming in my windows, ALWAYS. I can't handle it. I didn't know I needed darkness to sleep, but I'm guessing it's because I had always had it. If you don't have a street light out your window then four feet away is your neighbors house/building and their light is on. It's disgusting. I actually had to purchase a sleeping mask--to cover my eyes on nights when it's especially bad. I can't explain it well, it's just--I mean there is always light. ALWAYS. always. It's very annoying, and can't be good for you, right? I don't know--but that is definitely something I will not miss. One of my favorite things about 'developing' countries is the fact that they have no street lights, so it gets dark at night. I love the dark. Love it.
3. Noise. To go along with light, someone is always awake. If you live near a road, and as there are tons so it's hard not too, you hear traffic all night. Not usually an issue, but there is always some punk with a loud car or bike that wakes you up. And, if that's not the case, one of your neighbors is up and doing something loud. The absolute worst was during the playoffs last year with the Sox vs Yankees. The games ran until 1 or 2 in the morning, then of course commentary. Thus, pretty much EVERY TV set was on almost all night and people were screaming and yelling, all night. It about did me in. My sleep is precious and should not be tampered with.

Well--just some 'short' thoughts on city life. I need to get back to my homework. I am having serious issues doing it; I've lost all will, motivation, and desire. It's an issue. Hope all is well.
Jess

PS Pictures are of different sites in Boston.

1 comment:

Dents said...

the city will miss Jess :(
And we will too!