May 8, 2006
Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood
I am just beginning to appreciate that as I age, I am becoming increasingly aware of my preferences as well as my non negotiables. Those things that I cannot, or will not settle without, as well as those that after years of trial and error I have grown to realize do not have a place in the contented niche I am steadily creating for myself.

Some of these may seem insignificant to others: for example, mushrooms are unacceptable vegetables unless accompanied, even tangentially, by steak; if I'm ever lucky enough to get engaged, I sure would really like me one of those rul purty pricess-cut diamonds; boy short underwear has no place on this body.

Others are more substantial: you will never be a part of my true inner circle should you not adhere to the basics of the Human Handbook. Chapter 1, Saying Thank You is the Appropriate Response to Receiving a Gift/Generous Offer/Compliment. Oh, and Chapter 2, Step Outside of Yourself and Think About How Your Words and Actions Affect Those Around You, with a section devoted specifically to Asshat, How Did You End Up Lacking the Empathy Gene? Please don't get me started on forgetting on more than one occasion that we've been introduced, fat jokes, never fully paying your portion of the tab, or homophobia. It doesn't take that much thought to do the right thing, people.

Confirmed again on Sunday was my non negotiable to live in or near a major city. While out walking I simply turned a corner and happened upon a street fair in DC, and was overhwelmed by just how thrilled my each and every sense was. Smells of jerk chicken and freshly-cut orchids and funnel cake traded places in the air. The sounds of a band competed with laughter, a vendor praising the virtues of his Lo Mein, and the occasional police siren. The colors of the faces in the crowd were too numerous to count. There was hardly any room to move between tables, and I brushed nearly every second against a stroller (I know) or a newly-purchased bouquet or an political volunteer with a flyer sure to sway me. And so I sat in the last patch of remaining pavement and soaked in a bbq pulled pork sandwich, a book, and a little bit of the beauty of my city.

For many years, I lived the alternative, and for a combination of reasons, I find the prospect of living in a place where people don't lock their doors much more frightening than Option A. I cannot imagine looking into the night and not seeing a neighboring house or hearing a car coming down the street. I cringe when I think of the extent of my local news once being "cutting" coverage of the county meeting and teen vandals and the groundbreaking for the new Shoney's. I don't appreciate continuous quiet and I surely don't know how to stroll. I know that such a life would suck the very life out of me.

And so I will choose for life a non negotiable of staying in a city, with my sirens and street parking and $400,000 for a one bedroom??? And let's not forget traffic and is it legal for corner stores to mark up Laughing Cow/Yellow Tail/Playtex by 50%?

Days like yesterday make it all worth it.


41 Comments:

Blogger ejtakeslife said...

Oh, do I know what you mean. We pay a big sticker price for the Urban Fantasy, but it is so worth it.

Although, I could totally go for a Shoney's in my neighorhood.

Blogger I-66 said...

That's definitely the first mention of a Shoneys that I've seen in at least 3 years.

And I can't eat mushrooms under any circumstances. Even mushroom sauce makes my stomach smack me around from the inside.

Blogger Nat said...

I am so very jealous! DC is my favorite place to be...

I hear you on the Thank You's - people just don't say it enough anymore - how hard it is just to be considerate!

Anonymous erika said...

That's what that was? A street fair? If I had known there was meat on a stick available in our neighborhood...

Blogger Finn said...

I love street fairs. I love cities for all the reasons you pointed out.

So what I'm doing here in the 'burbs?

Anonymous Jorge said...

It's true.

We, each of us, has our niche, whether we like it or not.

Some of us have a broader spectrum of places in which we can live, but there is always at least ONE.

I love where I live. And I love where I visit. Each in turn makes the other that much more special.

I have 4 very special reasons to visit DC these days.

I just thought you should know, busy girl.

J

Blogger Guinness_Girl said...

Excellent, excellent entry today, Mama. I love it. And wholeheartedly agree. :)

Anonymous Maliavale said...

Amen. This is one of the precise reasons I adore cities, too.

Blogger Amber said...

That sounds like a great day. Also a reason I like living where I do. I can't necessarily walk to downtown Denver, but it's so close that a short drive will get me there. At the same time, a short drive will take me into the mountains. The perfect place for me to live.

Blogger RoarSavage said...

I was at the Flower Mart this weekend. Same kind of thing. Loved it. I just really like this city...

Blogger Miss Scarlet said...

Yeah walking out of one's house in the country and happening upon jerk chicken just isn't the same. In fact, it would be really weird.

Blogger Aimée said...

Oh no dawg! I thought you were surrounded by nice people with manners now!

Blogger Heather B. said...

Did you know that there are people in this world who will actually give up using certain offensive words just for you? I hope that counts.

Blogger Scott said...

I'm so with you on the non-negotiable of living in a major city. I grew up in what can only be considered rural suburbia. It was about 15 minutes outside of a mid-sized southern city. Now when I go home there is an eeire quietness that prevents me from sleeping and leads to things that go bump in the night-mares. I'm totally a city boy.

Blogger Sizzle said...

love the asshat chapter. and i'll check back with you on the major city thing around august (see how i am fairing in a new, major city).

:) sizz

Blogger missbhavens said...

Growing nearer and nearer to the possibility of NOT living in a major city for the first time in my life is making me realize just how much I desperately need to be living in a major city. I'm beginning to wonder if "near" a big city is enough for me...

...and, on another note, I just got back from a measly 12 hour stay in DC (honey had an art exhibit at the Arts Clubof Washington). I really, really liked it and I'm dying to get back there soon! What a groovy city!

Blogger Cheryl said...

I am very much like you in the sense that non-city life would suck the life-force out of me. It's just too quiet and dark. I need to feel like a part of something. Hmmm, feeling a post of my own coming on. Thanks!

Blogger Anita said...

Wow. Someone obviously hasn't ever been held up at gunpoint before. =)

I love that in the South people have impeccable manners. When I went to Spain 2 months ago I was astonished at how the people there would bulldoze you and never once utter a perdone. They seemed so inconsiderate, yet they have healthcare for everyone and don't try to run over you when you cross the street. Bizarre.

Blogger JordanBaker said...

mmmm. . .funnel cake.

Blogger Egan said...

Reading your blog is so worth it. You're a great storyteller.

Blogger Dave said...

I don't have the foggiest what Laughing Cow is, but I find that mark up to be an outrage. AN OUTRAGE!

That is all.

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Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

My non-negotiables include: Mini Cooper, rubber dildo, egyptian cotton sheets (400+ count thread) and Crown Royal.

Oh yeah, I have really cool oven mitts.

Blogger Egan said...

Erin, you're a MINI Cooper owner as well? Sweet.

Blogger t2ed said...

Erin, you're a rubber dildo owner as well? Sweet.

And we have street fairs in the country. But they have livestock. Lots and lots of livestock. And if you're lucky, sculptures made of butter. Mmmmm, butter.

I'm just happy I got to read a post with Shoney's and jerk chicken in it. Good times.

Now all you people get the hell off my street. I need a place to park. Seriously, please disperse or I'll be forced to release the hounds.

Blogger audrey said...

Please add to your list:

*people who don't hold open doors for the remaining passengers to pass through
*people who insist on splitting the bill to exactly everything they consumed
*people who consider the environment itself an appropriate trashcan

i too love city living, but gee it sure is nice sometimes to sit in the dark quiet.

Blogger Freewheel said...

It's definitely a wonderful feeling to wander into a street festival. This city's got a lot of life. It's truly an international city and yet it's not sprawling and gigantic like NYC or Tokyo.

Blogger DC Cookie said...

Being in NYC last night made me wonder what people who live there consider DC to be...

Anonymous Neil said...

Great post. Although, I didn't know anything about Shoney's, so looked them up on the net. They're burgers looked pretty good. Now I'm torn between visiting DC or some Shoney's somewhere...

Blogger DeepItalianEyes said...

Nice post, stop by and say hello time. If your ever interested in sharing a nice bottle of "Amarone" let me know.

Blogger Lefty said...

Interesting.

I have reasoned that there must be people who actually enjoy city life else there'd be no cities. Very logical. That said, I still can't wrap my brain (such as it is) around the idea of folks wanting to live in such an environment.

Me? I'd love to live some place where seeing another person is NOT an every day occurrence.

Blogger Kiki said...

The city you don't want to live in sounds a lot like Oshkosh!!

I miss living in a big city. There is just so much more going on.

Blogger JJ said...

Laughing Cow/Yellow Tail/Playtex - that's some evening you've got planned there, Kris.

But, yes, rule #1 is Don't Move Out Of The City. I have violated rule #1 and it has taken me 20 years to make it right.

Blogger Marissa said...

I so know what you mean! I love when I walk outside and there's a street fair on my block - I generally love everything about the energy and excitement that makes a big city.

Anonymous Jacynth said...

I share your life chapters as well as your love for living in an urban sprawl. There's nothing like not having any clue what to do on a Saturday AM and stumbling across what you did. It's amazing (and keeps me awake!)

Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

mushrooms are unacceptable vegetables unless accompanied, even tangentially, by steak

Well, I do like them in gravy, regardless of what the gravy's on.

Asshat, How Did You End Up Lacking the Empathy Gene?

This is why I'm not a Libertarian. Like their hands off, make your own decisions attitude, but you'll never get empathy from a Libertarian. I don't believe people deserve bad things happening to them sometimes and I do believe a lot of life is luck, although you have a hand in luck often.

I find the prospect of living in a place where people don't lock their doors much more frightening than Option A.

Canada. Or where I lived in Texas, didn't have to lock the doors.

Blogger J said...

Love the big city. LOVE it. Love DC, love SF, hell, I even have room in my heart for Philly. ;)

Blogger Darbs said...

I feel you on this one...I'm a city girl through and through!

Blogger Cheetarah1980 said...

Amen, amen, and amen!! There is nothing greater than city life. I don't care who says otherwise.

Blogger honeykbee said...

Greetings from suburbia, where both inconsideration and Shoney's run amok.

Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Miss it like crazy. Kris you are an artiste....

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