Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Big City

I must first apologize for my lack of posting of late. Good intentions don't always result in words on the page, or screen.

As I said in my last post, there's something about a big city. We spent that long weekend in Chicago recently, and have spent other times there since our son moved there in 2003. His connection to the University of Chicago puts us mostly in the university environs, but then enjoying activities all over the city.

Twice we attended the Publishers Row Lit Fest in June, once the Taste of Chicago. Twice we saw the belly dancers in the Turkish restaurant on the Northside. Try finding that in Bella Vista, Arkansas. One year we were there for the Hyde Park art fair. Everything was priced way more than we could afford, and we weren't in need of any art, but it was good to see it all. Someday I may even develop an appreciation for the visual arts.

Of course in the big city you have a wider choice of restaurants. You have bookstores, ice cream shops, places to buy candy, clothing stores out the wazoo. All of them are different than what we find in the exurbs. You have architectural wonders to view, and some to tour.

At the U of C, there's the campus to wander, maybe to find a coffee shop, buy some regular or designer coffee and sit and read something, pretend you're back in college, but with your 61 year old brain. I mentioned in my last post that the U of C has much construction going on, and I was intending in this post to talk about some of the new buildings and those being built. But I'm in St. Louis and don't have all the information with me, so that will have to wait till another post.

Ah, St. Louis! A city I often drive through but where I've spent very little time. This is the first time I've ever stayed in downtown St. Louis. Out my hotel window I can see the south leg of the arch. A very nice, older building is off to the right. I attend the three days of the conference (well, two of them are 1/2 days), and it includes a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium. That will be my third major league park to visit.

But back to Chicago. One interesting aspect of going there is looking at the buildings, even the simple residences. In older portions of the city there are no subdivisions. Houses are wedged onto small lots. Everything is on more than one level. Many parts of the city developed before everyone had an automobile, so there is no place to garage a car, and parking is tight. Yet even in the midst of this, the neighborhoods are often pleasant. People have found a way to add trees and other plants, or vegetable, herb, and flower gardens. Walk down a Hyde Park neighborhood street and it seems pleasant.

I grew up in the big city. Well, some might not think a Cranston RI location as the big city. It's in the Providence metro area, and our house was two stone throws from the Providence border. To me it seemed like the big city. Then for most of the next 16 years I was in the big city in three different locations. The big cities in the Arabian Peninsula were different than American big cities, or course, but they were still big cities. I've now lived in the exurbs or northwest Arkansas for over twenty years. I like both. I still remember what it's like to live in the city, and to live in the exurbs/suburbs. I find both to be satisfactory place.

I remember a job interview my senior year in college. The interviewer asked, "Are you willing to relocate?" I said yes, and he asked, "Even to New York City?" That was an easy yes. "Even to Biloxi Mississippi?" That was a harder yes. If he had asked me, "Even to Kansas farm country?" that would probably have been a no. Now? Almost anywhere in the world would be a yes. I can see myself going back to the big city, and maybe will at some point (if Oklahoma City qualifies as a big city). Plop me down somewhere and give me a place for my books, an Internet hook-up, some paper and pens, and I'm good to go.

1 comment:

vero said...

I hope to visit at least a few of our nation's and the world's great cities.