Thursday, May 26, 2011

city musings from suburbia

The more I come home to suburbia, the more I realize how drastically different my life is in a rumbling, living, breathing city.

Here are a few reasons:

1. In the city we have these wonderfully magical things called bodegas (like mini-marts or convenience stores, if you will.) Found on nearly every corner, many bodegas are open 24/7 and while a jar of peanut butter tends to cost $7, they are super useful for chocolate cravings, soda runs, and those "oops I didn't have breakfast so I'll pay $1.50 for a granola bar" mornings. My bodega is great. The guys know me and the lady who works on the weekends always talks to me about the weather. The other day I was about the purchase two items when I realized I only had enough money for one. I told the cashier I only wanted one because I didn't have enough money and he said, "That's OK. You pay later." I jokingly said, "Yeah, it's not like you won't ever see me again." To which he replied, "I see you every day." While I'm not sure how much I like these guys knowing my horrible compulsive snacking habits, there is comfort to be found in such small things as this.

Today I decided I wanted a Diet Dr. Pepper (ugh, my biggest vice) but there wasn't one to be found in the house. So I had to drive to a nearby gas station to pick one up. Oh the horror.

2. The comforting sounds of the city. I'm used to the sirens and plethora of other noises now. The first time I came back to sunny So Cal after my big move it was too quiet. The silence rang loudly in my ears. Now I'm used to both but this time, between the partying house next door, the ridiculously loud crows that caw every morning, and my crazy dog barking, I long for the city quiet.

3. I love me some driving. Seriously. I do. My love of getting behind the wheel, pumping gas, and using my turn signal didn't surface until rush hour involved bodies packed in a subway car. Nowadays I grab the keys to someone's car whenever I can. Early this evening I was feeling cabin feverish having spent a large part of the day around the house and my brother's car was available so I decided to go to Barnes and Noble to check out what's new. Yes, while on vacation I think about books and peruse the shelves to pay attention to trends and new releases (and covet many, many pretty covers).

I can go to B&N in New York. I can go to an indie in New York. I can go down the hall and grab a book from the "take shelf" in New York. But I always love to go book shopping when I get home and I was looking for an excuse to drive around. The suburbs also have these things called shopping centers, in which many different (chain) stores are grouped together around a giant parking lot. After B&N I went next door to Ross where I bought a couple of things and then drove to pick up my dinner--a burrito from my favorite hole-in-the-wall place. That's another thing about suburbia... they don't deliver anything but pizza.

4. Yesterday I went for a run up to the elementary school. I marveled at the tell-tale signs of suburban splendor. The rows of mailboxes with their little red flags. The vanity number plates on houses. The outdoor ornamental lawn chairs that no one ever sits in. Along the way I passed a few fellow runners who smiled and said "hi" to me. In New York, the only person who talks to you on the street is the homeless guy who asks you for 50 cents for a cup of coffee outside the subway. Yes, this is cliched and yes for a split second I wondered why they were talking to me. It was a classic "you are now a hardened city girl" moment.

5. Last but not least... life feels slower. It really does. I know I'm on vacation so I am out of my routine but I have gotten so used to everything buzzing by and staying in step with it all that when I stand back and look at it I realize just how much happens, how much I see, how much I ignore, and just how much I love it.

Remember the Sunscreen Song? In it, the guy said to live in a city at some point in your life but not so long that it makes you hard (I'm doing a horrible job at paraphrasing it but it goes something like that.) Today while I was driving around I considered how much more city I have in me. I have been saying lately that it is one lease at a time. But the city is so much a part of me who knows what will happen. And I like it that way right now.

1 comment:

MCW said...

I have so many of the same feelings when I am in in MD visiting! Enjoy your time...