Monday, November 8, 2010

Not a City Girl

Of course San Francisco is a vibrant, living city that is beautiful in the way that only cities can be. Over the years, I have probably spent more time downtown in this city than any other – including Seattle which is less than twenty miles away from my current home. I lived here for two weeks with my sister-in-law while she was pregnant with the twins and I've been coming down to SF now in relation to my current job about 2-3 times a year. This is why I am currently sitting in a hotel room listening to a street musician's violin echo up to the tenth floor. He almost drowns out the sirens and buses that are going down Market Street.
I'm just not a city girl.
I've never developed those urban instincts that make you immune to certain sounds or situations. I can't quite pull off the native stroll because I am looking up too often or making eye contact with people I pass on the street. I feel hyper vigilant as opposed to unconsciously competent while navigating this labyrinth of buildings and traffic. Believe me, I am a Californian at heart and love my home state and its wonderful west coast culture and mix of people – but here in the streets shadowed by skyscrapers, I feel out of touch and uncomfortable.
I try to imagine what it would be like to live in a city like this. A flat that requires public transportation to get to work or the store; abundant restaurants and theater; museums and symphonies. Noise and motion constantly flowing around me. Neighbors. People everywhere and small green parks dedicated to bringing a little bit of natural space into the miles of cement.
Maybe if I had been raised in an urban environment all of that would sound delightful. I've spent years wondering about those what ifs. I think one of the beautiful things about growing older is the clarity I can have about what is right for me. I don't have to wonder anymore about where I might want to live – I get to simply enjoy where I am right now:
A transient experience in a lovely hotel until I get to go back home to my fields of grass and mountain view.

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