country mouse, city mouse

30/04/2010 § 2 Comments

City, city, city. I need a city. I’m not ADHD nor snide. I like wearing neutral tones and think cars are ridiculous. I’m young and believe that coping mechanisms should be shared with friends, not family. These are not reasons to be in a city: It’s becuase it fits.

I find it odd how being in Port Perry has so quickly let my anxiousness seep in. Even though I have been busy catching up with my parents and sightseeing their quaint community, I, nevertheless, find my head hurting and my heart racing: some of the rules and some of the weird people are freaking me out.

I feel like I have been transported into a twisted sci-fi film — a splash of horror for good measure. Some small towns have an entire culture of their own and it can be a little terrifying. Although I was raised in a small town, I tend to find myself feeling a little less perplexed and safer in the city. That’s right. I said it.

Yesterday, my mom and I were crossing Highway 7, walking to downtown in this Kawartha-region town of 10,000. (Kawarta!) There is a little button that you must push in order to have the little-white-light-walkie-man give you permission to walk. I pressed the button, quite literally, 1-second too late. The little-walkie-man-light did not go on. The traffic light was green, but the hand was a orangeish-red. I started walking.

My mom started freaking out, saying I was going to get a jay-walking ticket or die trying. She crossed with me anyways.

Seriously, why? Why is a little-walkie-man telling me when and if I can cross the street? If there was no traffic, could I go anyways? Rhetorical, to say the least. Needless to say, my poor mama had to hear me rant, which was unfair. The surreality (real word? Is now.) of moving back threw me onto a philosophical tantrum about our rights and freedoms, completely oblivious to the fact that my little mama just wanted to chit-chat and hang out. Really too much for a Thursday stroll with moms.

Today, I was out taking some pictures of disgusting and bizarre objects I found in a little, man-made pond across the street from my parents’ house. When I got to other side of the pond — the one covered with trees and devoid of houses — I noticed an older, middle-aged dude in a bright blue-and-red hockey jersey watching me from across the pond. Everytime I looked at him, he would pretend to walk away. If I looked away from where he was — fascinated by a kid’s croc abandoned in the sewage that spills into the pond — then looked back, he would be there again. Goosebumps.

I decided to take the situation into my own hands and approach the dude, feign non-afraidedness (word? Mike Tyson’s got nothing on me tonight.) I said hello, he asked if I was a photographer, I said no just visiting my parents, and then we started chatting. Not the easy kind, the I’m-really-uncomfortable-with-you-and-am-going-to-walk-and-talk-with-you-until-I-get-to-my-street kind. And, so I did. Apparently his name is Gord and he lives right next door. Shiver.

How is it that I can feel these two emotions so powerfully here, in this quaint little town used for films, full of artists and affluent retirees and traveled shop-keepers and community activists? It is merely a tiny microcosm of what we have built elsewhere and everywhere.

In general, why are we so afraid of the uncomfortable and unlived? Why do fight against it or feel righteous above it? What are we trying to prove, or better yet, what are we trying to justify? That we have chosen the right path, the better path, the one and only way that will lead to humanity’s salvation?

I have a feeling that the country doesn’t understand the city because it changes too fast. The city does not like the country because it doesn’t. I guess, in the end, you find where you need to be to get to where you want to go. Somewhere you feel safe, at ease and able to flow.

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§ 2 Responses to country mouse, city mouse

  • Alex says:

    The awareness of a time-limit spent in such places imposes a veil of resistance that could possibly prevent you from feeling “comfortable”, Like a freakish dream that one will eventually wake up from which puts us in a hyper-aware state. Some of us who live in the city romanticize the country life by circling our own lives around places like the dog bowl. The separation isn’t so clear cut I think.

    • How true. I think people are restless and curious no matter where they are, fascinated, yet afraid, of the unknown, or what they believe to be the known.

      I think my anxious levels are not just about being here, but knowing that I am going there.

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