You Need Better Neighbors
I just moved from a suburban town on the fringe of a big city, going to a town of twenty five thousand. It seems a lot smaller. During the six years I lived in the elitist suburb, (where everyone thought they lived in the most exclusive one around), I talked to maybe five people on my entire street! You never saw a live human, just cars furtively comming and going. For all We know, ninety percent of the houses could have been empty or filled with aliens. Here, we met our neighbors before we even got the first ten boxes unpacked. It’s like we moved to another planet!
Now understand this; the wife shares her entire life history with people in line at the store! I’m not all that far behind. Authors may be regarded as a reclusive bunch, but authors who want to sell books talk to people. I just gave all my website and book poop to the woman x-raying my spine last Friday, for Gods sake! We aren’t shy or bashful. Honestly, we’re the sort of snoopy neighbors you’d probably dread. But in the old location it did nothing; you can’t chat up invisible people.
Naturally, this got me thinking about how humans live. We evolved out of tiny bands, small tribal villages, where you knew everyone. There were no secrets and it was so un-obscured, you knew everytime someone took a leak! You were pretty much forced to be honest and straight forward, since you had no opportunity to hide any shifty doings. Can you imagine that? Bigger places have meant an explosion in opportunity to be sleazy and sneaky. Big cities have given us the chance to engage in all sorts of improper activity, from cheating on the spouse, to hiding from the boss!
Add to that the fact that you don’t know ayone near you, and you get a life void of closeness and meaning. How do you maintain any sort of social cohesion when an entire city is mostly strangers? Beats me. This new place has a thing called First Friday, and I think two thirds of the town turns out to piddle and mingle. The entire downtown is packed. Considering that the bigest crowd I saw in the last place was when an old store caught fire and burned, I’d say this is a massive step up. People walk around here too, and actually wave at you, and not just with the middle finger!
I’d suggest we tear down every city over fifty thousand, and move everyone out into a bunch of small towns. We’d be a lot different country if anyone actually knew someone other than their relatives. I suppose all you people with something to hide might find that awkward. Course, I’d think that’s a perfect reason to do it! You need to have a lot fewer things needing to be hidden in the first place!