Preface: When I use the word city, I mean a pedestrian city, filled with people walking, riding bikes, or using mass transit, not the spread out cities where people use their cars to commute, much like places that many of us call home.
There are few times in my life when I find myself marveling at things. Sunsets on nights when the sun paints the clouds with hues of orange, pink, and purple, shooting stars, a man galloping on a horse, and the oddest, but not least, cities. The skyscrapers stand tall, so tall in fact that I am often confused of how they stay up (physics was a subject I did not fair well in, hence the reason I changed from engineering to the liberal arts…). The fact that each building houses people, either for work or sleep, that the whole city is a giant center for commerce, entertainment, life. All the people concentrated in small area still find food to eat, and have meaningful connections with other people. Life moves so fast. People hurry to work, to meet other people, to have a night on the town, or just to finally get some shut eye. Don’t even get me started on mass transit. Cities give me so much to marvel at.
So, here I am, in San Francisco, sitting in my hotel with my window open listening to the endless sounds of a living city. Earlier today I was wondering through a crowd, looking at trinkets in China Town, and before that watching Sea Lions sunbath on floating wooden pallets, and even before that I was walking through a farmers market watching people buy the items they needed for their dinners or picnics or snacks (we bought organic bananas). How amazingly random life can be here.
Now if you know me, I am not one who embraces the unpredictable. I am a very orderly person, and have been as long as I can remember. However, in my old age (I am approaching 24, that is old) I have found myself attracted to the spontaneous. I have started to find the unpredictable more enjoyable. Maybe it is because I have learned over time, that no matter how orderly you are, life still throws curve balls at you and you just have to go with it. I mean, I did everything I was supposed to do. I made good grades in High School, did well in College and graduated. Now I am supposed to find a job and be a productive member of society. That is the plan right? How is that going you ask? Nearing 3 months of serious job hunting and I still got nothing to show for it but a few bad interviews and a habit of sleeping until noon.
But in the city, there are so many different stories happening all around. Every waiter or barista I see, I wonder what their story is, how they came to be where they are, and if they are having any fun. Maybe not fun in the way that people think. I wonder if they are enjoying life, having meaningful relationships, I wonder if they feel that they have a purpose, or if they are just barely getting by. The people I walk by in the street, are they a tourist, are they a business woman, a homeless person? Where are they going, where have they been, who are they?
I sat people watching at a table outside of a restaurant tonight. I was in awe of how many people I saw walking by. A city is where people are, it is a mass of people opening their lives to clashing with others unpredictably. The thought of living in a place like that excites me. Now, to figure out how to do that…