I think I want to live in a big city, which is totally crazy and absolutely unlike me. But then there’s this niggling feeling that I want to live in a big city anyway.
When you live in Michigan, you need other people to do things. When you go and do things, it is best in groups. In a way, you need other people. You bring along just enough others to fit in a car. Most of the night is spent driving. We love cruising in Michigan. Not all of my great moments came from riding in cars, necessarily. It’s more like filling in the space around my great moments are thousands of memories that happened in cars.
That time Keri and I got drunk and talked someone into chauffeuring us to Starbucks.
Skipping class to drive around Ann Arbor with Ashley.
Being trapped in the car while a classmate has the most epic meltdown, and trying to keep a straight face.
Sitting in the back of Stephanie’s car, listening to her and Ramon sing along to the Across the Universe soundtrack.
Getting a speeding ticket coming home from Michigan’s Adventure with Kelly.
That time with dad and the whole family in the Dairy Queen drive thru that will live on in infamy.
I have thousands of more moments I could pluck out and share. I live in Michigan. Cars are kind of a big deal here. I love driving. I love having a car and the freedom to go places on my own schedule. However, it makes doing things very social. You don’t pull in strangers off the street and put them in your car. However, when you want to do something, that need to have people to go with is stronger, and I think that part of it is because that drive to and from accentuates a loneliness if you don’t have someone to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with.
Don’t get me wrong. I love it. I love driving with people. Some of the best conversations happen on the road with another person. As if the simple act of locking yourself in a box that’s hurtling along the freeway gives you this freedom to be brazenly honest with yourself and others. You can slip into this deep and profound retrospective mindset and then the Backstreet Boys comes on your playlist and now you and that other person are also rockstars. It’s amazing in its own right, but also not always what I want and need.
Sometimes I need life without all of the personal relationships. Sometimes I really want to go out and be around people. I want the inky black sky above me and the dazzling and brightly lit up signs of stores and traffic lights. I want people walking around me, laughing or crying or whispering or shouting. I want to soak up being around people who are living while I walk with fake purpose down the street without having to actually interact with anyone. I want to walk around the streets like I’m going somewhere, while really I’m just adding a little bit to the atmosphere, being a background image in some else’s best/worst night. I want to be a part of a larger something instead orchestrating a night out with people I know and have to talk to. Sometimes the focus is too small with a group of people you know, it’s too “us in our own world”.
I could have a very romantic view of big cities. If I ever moved to one, I’d probably become that ass I hate. The New Yorker who talks like New York is the best place ever and the only place anyone should ever want to live. In my head, I easily ignore the anxiety that would threaten to overcome me if I was ever forced to walk down a busy New York street. All the people all of the time would probably put me into daily therapy sessions. Not that I ever want to move to New York. I’m a lover of London on a foundational level.
Still, I have this burr in my soul that is able to be ignored most days of the month. It flairs up within me and I can’t ignore it. I want nights like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist or Michelle Pfieffer’s storyline in New Year’s Eve or just those moments where you stay out all night and it’s formative and silly and fuzzy yet brilliant. I couldn’t live my whole life having that every night, but crave for it occasionally.
I crave it enough to want to live in some place like London. I want to hole up in my apartment. I want to go to the Starbucks I always go to. I want my routine, my job, and the Tesco with the great layout. I want to wear sweatpants and binge watch Netflix. But then, every so often, I want to explode into the city. I want to take streets that I’ve never taken. I want to go to the furthest Starbucks in my neighborhood. I want to actually go to that one place that looks interesting, but never have actually been inside. I want to do nothing that even resembles the daily patterns and habits I usually exhibit. I want public transportation. Then I want to wake up the next day and go back to my routines knowing they aren’t a rut or a forced choice. They’re my choice, and I know this because I could go out and do anything (and sometimes I do). I need it because that’s how my life will make sense.
Doing things contrary to your lifestyle wakes you up and reminds you that you are a living human being and that you should act accordingly.