[<< | Prev | Index | Next | >>]

Wednesday, June 20, 2001


I am not a city person. It's just that simple.

To me, Boston is a crowded street trapped between towering brick walls dotted with dirty windows--air holes for the hive-like hominids within who pour in and out through openings at the bottom; the inescapable sound and fumes of traffic; little plots of green, scattered with trash, tourists, and the locals who haven't figured out that if they just didn't live here they wouldn't need "parks" in the first place; overpriced, pretentious restaurants; a grey-brown river teeming with refuse, reminiscent of the drainage end of a K-Mart parking lot; and to top it off, foul weather most of the year.

But this isn't unique to Boston--this is most big cities.

So what makes a city person? What makes a city person is what, at the root, makes a city: people. People who will sell you things, people who will serve you things, people who will sing for you, make you laugh, tell you stories, or just be there, in abundance, all around, giving you the sense that something is happening, like a TV left on for company, like the car radio during the daily commute.

Me, I prefer the end products without the people, and I don't want the sense that something's happening unless it really is, because it distracts me from making things happen, gives me a false sense of progress, lulls me mindlessly down the one-way, dead-end street called time.

It's just how I'm wired. It comes down to what I inherently enjoy and find worthwhile of my time. I would rather be surrounded by nature and have the products of civilization delivered in discrete packets than the other way around.

I do not need to go shopping regularly.
I do not need to hear a musician's every bodily noise.
I do not need to smell my comedian.

I will take him on DVD, thank you, and watch him on a jumbo screen set against a glass wall overlooking a jungle. And when he does something I just have to see or hear again, I will rewind him. And when I have to pee, I will pause him. And when he is done making me laugh, I will pour myself a cup of hot chocolate and wander out into the jungle and sit next to a stream while my urban contemporaries are digging for change in their ash trays to pay the parking garage fees as they prepare to battle traffic.

I am not a city person. It's just that simple.

Michelle's interesting recent entry is quite related. I agree with her (and Greg's) basic observation, but to me beautiful surroundings are best when just that--not an end to themselves, but an environment in which I do things. I don't yawn at the lake, because I'm either kite surfing on it or working on something interesting at its shore (whether on my laptop or in my head). The apparent advantages of having creative people around is what keeps bringing me back to the city experiment; but as of yet the costs seem to far outweigh the benefits. I am a creative person, and I need the time, space, and freedom to exercise that (and beautiful surroundings don't hurt!). There are other ways, especially now days, to interact with creative people: over the internet, by phone, having them as visitors, or just bringing them with you, for instance. Submerging myself in the ceaseless noise of civilization is not the only option.

[<< | Prev | Index | Next | >>]

Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com