I am a city girl. Despite long bouts of living in the country, I am a city girl through and through. I like tall buildings, traffic, noise and most of all; I like to be around lots of people.
I do have some wonderful childhood memories of living in the country in upstate New York. Memories of capturing tadpoles in creeks, popping tar bubbles on the sides of hot summer roads and screaming with delight on the back of a snowmobile as it careened down a snowy slope. But childhood is different.
As an adult, forced by my husband’s work transfer, I lived in the country for around ten years. I have a few happy memories, but most of my memories revolve around nosey neighbours and a distinct lack of things to do. I had my boys to look after and my main social event was attending their playgroups or volunteering at the school canteen. If I did go out with friends, the choices we had of coffee shops, cafes or bars was limited and the same people rotated through each.
However, the worst thing about the country was a lack of privacy. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing – often before they do it! My elderly neighbour across the road would frequently comment on my night owl habits and the lady on the corner would make it a point to notice if I had been at the gym regularly or not. But the worst was when I was dating a guy and his ex girlfriend would send him text messages each time he came to see me, just to let him know that she knew where he was!
I moved to the city as soon as I could.
But, with the constraints of parenthood and the necessity of being geographically close to work, I have moved to the suburbs. They are far better than the country, but still not quite the same as the city.
People in the suburbs are more relaxed than in the city. Those looking for exercise in the suburbs walk unhurriedly through the streets with their partners or friends, often pushing babies in strollers, chatting happily as they get their daily 30 minutes of exercise. In the city, they pound the pavement with more determination, iPods in ears dictating the constant beat of their shoes. Those with babies seem oblivious to their infants being bounced rapidly over the terrain. Those with partners or friends save the chatting for later on.
People in the suburbs stay at home more, or leave restaurants earlier. They rely more on television for entertainment. In the city the cafes and bars are full to overflowing often until the early hours of the morning.
One day I will move from the suburbs to the city in search of the lights that never dim and the life that is all around.