Archive for city versus town

Big City/Small Town, The Debate Rages

Posted in life with tags , , , , on January 22, 2013 by cueball

There is a lot more in this world then the small sphere of influence we build up around ourselves.  Our domain is comfortable.  It is safe.  We know where most of the landmines are and are expert at avoiding them.

The problem is sometimes that sphere is too comfortable.  You can stay in that world so long that you sometimes don’t notice that it is a small unlit place.  That is why it is good (I would almost say necessary) to go away from where you are from when you are young.  Go to college far enough away from your hometown to make it uncomfortable, join the military, or just move across the country.  At the very least a young person should read “dangerous” books.

If you are from a small town, why would you ever want to leave? Your family is there.  Your friends are there.  Everyone you have ever known is a 5 minute car drive away.  Unless you actively try to break out of that mindset, but why would you.  It is comfortable and it is safe.

This isn’t just an attack on small towns, because the dirty little secret of big cities is that if you are poor, you have the same mindset.  If you are poor in a big city, you virtually live in a small town because you don’t have the money or the time to spend taking advantage of all the flummery the city has to offer.  Unless you actively try to break out of that mindset, but why would you.  It is comfortable and it is safe.

I have lived in both and both have their advantages.  A big city has an immediacy and a vibe that screams, “I am alive.”  There are things to do always.  You can sit out on the balcony of your apartment and listen to the city breath.  The sound of car engines, tires, and horns moving back and forth underneath you is accompanied by the sound of a concert in a distant club with the murmur of pedestrians toping it all off like a beautiful sound collage.

However, you can’t sit on your porch in a big city on a summer’s night and just listen to the crickets, whippoorwills, and owls sing their songs as the wind softly blows through the trees.  The moon sits high above casting a beautiful weak pale shadow on everything.  The pace of life is different in a small town.  Where everything is immediate in a big town, you can take your time in a small town to enjoy watching cars pass by.

I prefer big cities.  They allow me to get lost and to be lost there.  Part of my nature is to blend in and not be noticed.  Big cities provide the anonymity that I want and the feeling of isolation I sometimes need.  Cities provide the constant stimulation of something going on somewhere you don’t get in a smaller place.  Small towns do provide that human warmth that we all sometimes crave in our lives.  That warm embrace is good as long as we don’t allow it to smother us.