Bright Lights, Big City

In my current state of upheaval, persons closest to me – and who know all the gory details of my upended life - invariably ask:
“You’re leaving, aren’t you?”
Interesting question.
Especially in the afterglow of a weekend in the city.
I love cities.
The feel you get by walking around a city center – in Sacramento, it’s called The Grid – passing art galleries, bars, restaurants, shops – just places to hang out. The excitement you feel with so many choices; the idea that within just a few blocks, you could eat foods from Vietnam, Italy, Germany, India, Africa, the entire Mediterranean region, New American, Japanese, Chinese – whatever.
It’s all out there.
“There is so much live theater in this town, that we simply never get out and see it,” my friend told me on a stroll through The Grid. “It’s almost like there’s too much.”
To much live theater? Wow.
Then there’s all the gin joints in all the places that throw down with every mix of music you can imagine. Live music, not some crappy DJ playing last month’s shitty techno garbage.
Cities are exciting; they’re dangerous. Something always is going on.
It is tempting. And it’s not like I am without offers. Writers who know me have openly questioned why I still stick around.
“You realize you could go anywhere,” a buddy said a couple of weeks back. “I mean, man, you’re that talented.”
I appreciate those thoughts. I agree with them, too. I’ve been in Northern California for 10 years; the guy that hired me asked if I could give him a year before I went on to (bigger) things.
But I love it here. I truly do. I love the ability to walk on a trail at lunchtime – with the chance to see real wildlife, like bobcat or bald eagle – and not have to ever sit in a traffic jam (we can still get from point A to point B, most anywhere in the city, in 15 minutes).
The paper pays me a decent wage; nothing that I’m ever going to get rich on, but it’s fair. The company has sent me to the past two Winter Olympics, too (and in 2010, it’s up I-5 at Whistler).
But here’s the real upside: They pay me to hunt, hike and fish. And then write about it.
And people here are so responsive – both good and bad – to what I write. They send cards and letters, send emails, give me a call. Many tell me how much they appreciate having me here; how much of a difference I made; how I’m able to write in such a way that they’re right with me.
That’s powerful stuff.
Not that leaving hasn’t crossed my mind. The resume is dusted off, updated, printed. I cruise the journalism help wanted sites; I’ve put feelers out to people in the business that I might be interested in leaving. And that has my supervisors worried; concerned that there is nothing left to keep me here.
Except my heart. My heart is here.
But, boy, do I love cities.
Finding myself single in the city would be interesting (as opposed to being single again in Northern California, especially since I’ve not been single in six years and it would be awkward, I believe).
I’m not leaving.
Not just yet.
Maybe never (but I can never say never; I have a life goal to live in Italy for a year and it is going to happen).
The city lights glow from 147 miles away (Sacramento), from 192 miles (San Francisco).
That’s close enough. For now.


stevo said...

I could see you in Vancouver B.C. as my neighbor.

RachelRenae said...

I'd rather live in Redding than Sacramento any day! Big cities are just not all they're cracked up to be, after a while.

Skigirl said...

I can relate to that. Having lived in a town for the last three years I miss not having a local cinema, the sometimes cumbersome journey of traveling twelve miles to the local complex of bowling alleys and various food outlets and the anonymity of 'new' people you get in cities. Conversly, I can go shopping around my town and talk with half a dozen people I know. I'm in walking distance of the countryside, I can ditch my car for a whole weekend and walk to 'get everywhere' and we have a traditional local pub on each street corner not the replica fake Irish pub you get in every cloned city. To top it all skichild and I talk to our neighbours and they are there in times of need...does that happen in the city??
I don't think I would ever move back to a city now...but never say never!