It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times; or so the opening to A Tale of Two Cities goes, or something close to that. This is my version of that book, or probably not. Aside from that first line I know nothing about the book. This is probably more like Country Mouse, City Mouse. But also not really. Ok, here it is: recently I took a couple of trips to two different areas and I learned a few things about myself.
What? The actual line is, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”? You stupid monkey.
The first trip was with three of my best friends to the city of Chicago, IL. Bright lights, busy streets, towering, uh, towers. I had a ton of fun and enjoyed every minute of it.
The second trip was with my mom to my grandma’s in Hayward, WI. Lush greenery, quiet lakes, towering trees. I had fun and enjoyed most of the minutes of it.
Each place had many things to love, and I appreciated being in each place for various reasons. But during a long car trip home from Wisconsin I realized that I am city guy.
In Wisconsin I spent many moments just taking in the trees gently swaying, and the mild waves drifting across a calm lake, or the crackle of bon-fire slowly burning out. There were many opportunities to just be and embrace existence. This is fine, to a point. I have a love/hate relationships with my thoughts. I love thinking and experiencing them, but I sometimes I hate how deep they go and some of the twists and turns they take.
In Chicago we in an almost constant state of go. We had a few events planned, but for the most part we made decisions on the fly. Sure, this at times led to poor choices, but that’s just a part of life. But as I had to navigate the cars whizzing by, or the hordes of pedestrians, or read the map of the El, I had no time to get lost in my thoughts. I had to be on point and I do well with that.
Often in my life I feel awkward or out of place. I never felt that in Chicago. I fit in. I understood the vibe of the city. Despite having never been there, I could be Cousin Larry. I thrived in Chicago.
Don’t get me wrong, the break to the quiet woods of Wisconsin serves as just that, a break. It’s something nice to do every once in a while, but I couldn’t live there. I need a city.