I love the idea of cities. New York is one of my favorite places to visit. I loved it from the first time I was there in '85. I've spent weeks in a city, but could I do it full time? I don't know. I'm a child of the suburbs. I briefly lived downtown (in a much smaller 'town') when I was 19, but it was for barely 3 months after university and most of it was spent in the 'burbs with hubby. We lived in apartments for 3 or 4 years. I hate apartments. Other people's smells and noises, the inconvenience of parking, elevators, even the move in/out is a hassle. I love the idea of having public transportation that makes sense. I love being able to walk to all sorts of points of interest (and shopping). And being in the middle of things means you are more likely to be a part of things. But, the noise is overwhelming; if you actually take a second and listen to the level of background noises it's pretty stunning. And I know I don't really need to mention it, but the smell of urine emanating out of alleys and the subway is really something I could happily never smell again. I would miss seeing stars, hearing birds and crickets. Could I wake up to a garbage or delivery truck instead of crows?
If proximity means you conduct your life in public, it follows that your death may be public too. This morning I decided to take the Metro rather than driving or walking. There is a terminal just under the hotel and another at the office building so it seemed easy enough. It was incredibly hot when I arrived underground, and after about 5 minutes of waiting, an announcement came over the speakers that the line was stopped indefinitely. I looked across at the stopped train on the far tracks and I realized that CPR was being performed on someone in it. About 10 minutes later they moved the body off the train and continued to work on it on the floor, and the trains started operating again. At that moment it struck me that while I enjoy visiting cities, I'm not cut out to live in them. While experiencing living in cities is attractive, the thought of dying during the morning commute with people practically stepping over my body does not appeal to me, as crazy as that line of reasoning is. I understand that I can die on my commute too, but chances are with a heart attack I'd take a header of the highway into a farm field, tucked cozily in my car. I'm pretty easy-going about my personal space, it takes a lot to throw me, but for some reason the thought of my dead body being given space and privacy seems important to me. Who knew that a line of police tape would bring that much comfort to my corpse?