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Why I could never live in a major metropolitan area.

November 9, 2009

The boy and I went down to NYC today to visit the newly-commissioned USS New York, which is a brand new, state-of-the-art naval warship that used something like 70 tons of steel from the World Trade Center in the construction of its hull. We also stopped by the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum, which was a big disappointment, considering we paid $20 apiece to get in (well, I got in for $18 because I had my college ID on me). At any rate, while I love the public transportation available (MTA Metro North Rail from up north down to NYC and subway once there) and the little, locally owned and operated shops that line the streets, and the museums every mile or so, I hate almost everything else about NYC.

Yep. Today it was amazingly warm outside (high of near 70) and not a cloud in the sky. Anywhere but NYC and the metro area would have been beautiful. Alas, the pretty blue sky was marred by a blurry bar of brown haze on the horizon, obscuring distant skyscrapers. And the air felt dirty (and was, as I discovered in the shower a couple hours ago) and the heat was too hot for autumn. It felt wrong. And the NOISE, my lord the noise! I mean, I grew up not too far from one of the busiest roads in Fargo where it crossed I-94. Not exactly the quietest place ever. But I have sensitive ears and all the honking, yelling, traffic noise, train/subway noise, was seriously getting to me. It was SO LOUD!

There were a lot of people at the USS New York, not as many as I expected, but still definitely a crush. And I’ve discovered that I get anxious and uncomfortable around large crowds of people. Not so much that I have a panic attack or anything, but enough that I skipped seeing some cool stuff, just to get away from the crowds and into the open air. Ironically, we toured a diesel submarine at the Intrepid and I was not claustrophobic there, but I was when surrounded by people.

So, clearly, I am a country girl (or at least a medium-sized town girl) at heart. I like clean air, trees and grass and wildflowers/weeds, gardens, farms, and wildlife (even if the local wildlife consists of nothing more than squirrels and rabbits and birds – better than just pigeons and seagulls!). I crave sunshine and fresh-smelling air and clear skies and unpolluted waters. I like space – which is what I get for being raised on the prairie, I guess – and lots of it. I can breathe better when I’m alone in the woods or on a mountain or out on the prairie. I don’t feel so boxed in. I can relax better, unfettered and un-anxious and un-crowded in the quiet.

In a previous post I talked about the historical transition America made from a predominantly rural to a predominantly urban/suburban population. And how with that transition, formerly venerated yeomen farmers became hicks, and formerly unhealthy and amoral cities became paragons of learning and virtue (sort of). Now, I can appreciate New York City for it’s buildings, it’s cultural diversity, it’s museums, and it’s history. But most New Yorkers don’t even do that, and they live there! I just honestly don’t understand how people can live so jammed together in such tiny spaces with no greenery (although by the pier we did see a lot of outdoor potted plants, and there were fenced-in ginko trees and such) and no privacy and no space.

*sigh* It’s a good thing I decided not to go to NYU. Yes, a very good thing. Because as much as I love Metro North, that train ride can be a little hellish. Especially when the traincar you’re riding back home on after a long, exhausting day on your feet, is somehow 90 degrees inside and the windows don’t open and there appears to be no air conditioning – none that works, anyway. So yes, I would not want to do that everyday and the people who do are absolutely nuts. Almost as crazy as the people who choose to drive in NYC and don’t get paid to do it. Crazies, I tell you!

And now, after a long and very tiring day, I think it is time for me to go to bed.

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