I told my wife today that I have to have a home office that looks like it’s from New York, with red brick walls, wood floors, and leather couches. Maybe even a fire escape out the window. We’ll build a house eventually, so this is doable. She wants to live in the country, far away from people and where she can have a barn. She loves animals. And the country. I love the city. This is our compromise.
I love the country too—the crisp fresh air, the trees (oh Gandhi, I love trees), the mountains, the freedom, the independence—but I can’t seem to give up the city. Coffee shops, book stores, taxis, brick buildings, jazz. It seems to have an intellectual stir about it. Some call it snobbery (or thanks to freaking How I Met Your Mother, “douchey”), but I’m okay with that. It breathes a certain competition, and that’s exactly what my BA demands. Classmates always one-upped each other with what they knew about literature or grammar, and, although it turned me off at first, I found it kept me on my toes and necessitated that I knew my bag. It goes without saying that no one should be an a-hole, so know that this is different.
Even the baser things have their pull. The subway is this amazing transit where diverse and even opposing strangers sit next to each other and get along. Everyone just wants to get where their going without drama. Graffiti brings a life, color, and dimension to the city that is hard to find or replicate elsewhere. The artisanship is complex and can’t be done without an eye for perspective and a graceful hand. While I disagree with the vandalism of others’s property, I champion the deftness and artistic style. The rest of the hip-hop culture is also fascinating. Break dancing, which was innovated through a desire for nonviolent turf battling, is a physics marvel. The lyrical flow of rappers, and the inventiveness of beat-boxers, echoes in the alleys. And then there’s food: from street vendor, to pub, to even the (non-base) fine Italian, each brings a layer that help define the city. The city is a fantastic ecosystem.
Crime is, of course, a downward aspect, and it’s a shame that the Ninja Turtles and Spider-man can’t actually be there for us in NYC. Sadly, in cities, the ability to protect one’s self is more limited due to the left leaning culture. I’m not so much a fan of paternalism, and since it permeates much of urban life, that is a huge drawback.
Yet, I want to be that guy with the perfect diction, whose book review appears in The New York Times, and which he wrote while listening to some talk radio or Miles Davis. I want that concrete jungle towering over me as I play chess in the park. I want to enjoy a date with my wife on Broadway. I want to take my kids to the museum. I want the diversity.
Yes, the city life.