Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NYC, cont'd

So, back to what I was saying about Paris, Fran-- New York. I remember, don't worry.

Let me start be addressing the illustrious Bernadette and her comment. In no way did I mean to suggest that anyone living outside of New York (of which group, incidentally, Bern is a part) was acheiving less important things. As she said, there is nothing wrong with living your life the way you choose. And there are millions of people who acheive very great things outside of New York or any other urban center.

What I love about the city, though, is that you are forced to make something great. Because so many people flock here, the deed that distinguishes yourself must be superb. Average doesn't work, neither does pretty good. You have to be great to make it in New York.

This is not always the case, not all 10 million people in the 5 boroughs are great at anything. But all of those 10 million people consider themselves New Yorkers, which means something. And the reason it means something is because of this underlying need to acheive something great.

Can you tell I've been reading Ayn Rand?

But on to the second thing I'd like to discuss, why I get angry when people curse the city. The main reason I get pissed when someone says, "I hate the city," is that usually they are damning it for the exact same reasons that I love it. They hate the feeling of competition. They crave the slowed down, "easy" lifstyle of the suburbs, where everyone is perfectly happy taking their 6 kids to soccer practice in their new minivan. They wish they didn't have this need to acheive.

What people are really saying when they blame the city like that is that they feel inadequate in the face of so much greatness. Which is understandable. Which is totally ok. I'm sure that the same people who acheive the great things also feel like they are inadequate. It's what pushed them to acheive what they did in the first place.

But don't curse the city because it makes you feel inadequate. It's not an external source that is making you feel the way you feel. It's something internal. The people who say, "I hate the city," are going through their own personal issues. Whether it's loneliness, or lack of a career, it is not the City of New York that is making you feel bad. Everyone has problems. Everyone can be unhappy, even people in the suburbs. My dear wife Mephistopholes likes to imagine that if we move out of New York, life will be peachy and nothing will ever make us sad. That's a vicious case of Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome.

Yes, in the suburbs, you would probably be a big fish in a small pond. People will look up to you for even having been in the city for only five years. You could have the easy life of BBQs and blowjobs.

But isn't it better just to have that chance at greatness. To be a part of a truly magnificent community. To live in view of the Chrysler building. To walk down fifth avenue just to find a sandwich. To not only be able to eat good cheap Thai food but have a choice of at least five Thai restaurants in one neighborhood. To be able to go to movies with Jimmy Fallon behind you in line by himself (this just happened to Mephistopholes.) To be able to perform at open mics with people that you know will be on Comedy Central one day.

Isn't that better than saying, "I hate the city"?


spaceguy said...

Whoa, down boy! Seems to me like the choice to live in a city or not is just personal preference. One choice is not necessarily better than the other; it depends on what you are trying to accomplish and your definition of "success". If you want to be an entertainer or build skyscrapers, the city is probably the right place. However, if you want to be the best computer game programmer ever you can do that from anywhere from over the Internet. Heck, we even have the CEO of a large aerospace corporation living here in our quiet little town.

I personally don't like traffic (driving in it or listening to it), the smell of exhaust, and people everywhere. In general, I don't like being in cities. This doesn't mean I have no ambition. Neither does it mean that wanting to live in the city is wrong.

So I guess what I'm saying is, what are you getting all spun up about?

Bob Jingle said...

I never said that people who live outside of cities lack ambition. There are countless millions of extremely talented and successful people who don't live in any urban area. That's not my point.

There is a much greater chance of being the only artist/scientist/bricklayer in an area of less population. A town with a pop. of 1000 would only have 1 doctor, 1 architect, etc. That individual doesn't have to be the best, becuase they are the only one. To me, it is more exciting and fulfilling to live in an area that has thousands of people who are trying to do the same thing because it is a true test of one's merit and talent. And when someone says they hate the city (not for the reasons you state but because they feel squashed or competitive) it makes me frustrated because I feel they are hating that which I find so great about the city. Was that a runon sentence?