Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting New Orleans.

A Mardi Gras Indian, Super Sunday, 2011.
While I have rarely lived in a big city over the course of my life, I am a city person.  The raison d'etre of urban living is wired into my DNA.  I grew up in a smallish town, small by some standards, but larger than many cities in Oklahoma.  I lived close to the center of town, and I thought nothing of walking to the store.  The American cities I have spent the most time in are Newport, RI and New London, CT, both of which have roughly the same populations, around 25,000, in a similar area, less than 9 square miles.

When I moved to Boston, I had cracked the local code after two or three weeks.  I understood the city, and I moved about it naturally.

I was recently in Washington, DC, and when I stepped off the train, I felt like I was in a city again.  The landscape felt natural and the rhythms of pedestrians and buses and cars and trucks made sense.  Walking for blocks between multi-story, antique, brick apartment buildings, hemmed in but busy gaping around at the stores on the ground floor and all the people on the street, was nice.  So was having a subway that was quicker than walking, and discovering the beauty of its convenience and fare schedule.  But then it became too much of the same.  I could have been in Boston.  I definitely was not in New Orleans.

A year later, I still don't get New Orleans.  I love it, and not a day goes by that I don't say to myself , apropos of nothing, "I love it here."  I still haven't figured it out.  Every day is an adventure that brings unexpected surprises.  Every day I learn more about my new city, and about myself as I adapt.  It is a very nice place to be.

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