JG and I went to the climbing gym yesterday. The twenty-minute drive is very curvy, but best of all, scenic. Rolling over hills, I can see through the windshield wide expanses of cut grass, dotted with grazing cattle and fluffy sheep. There is an equestrian school at one point and it’s common to see young girls in jodhpurs putting their animals through their paces. Stony farmhouses and red barns mark land ownership and wooden rocking chairs tilt gently on open-air porches. The smells of hay, honeysuckle, and humus flow in through the open windows and I breathe deeply.
Most of the time, I love living in our small-town-almost-countryside community. People walk their dogs in the neighborhood, we know that our mechanic’s name is Chip, and we have quiet nights with starry skies. I make a daily commute to a small city, so coming home is like a breath of fresh air. My ears are clear of car alarms and I look forward to seeing the sun set.
But another part of me loves metropolis and everything it includes. I love to wander museums, listen to the orchestra, marvel at the ballet, and eat exotic food. I love not having to drive and, instead, relying on public transit maps that might be really confusing or hearing my shoes slap against the concrete sidewalk. I love knowing that I can do almost anything at any hour. I don’t think I could live in a city, but visiting is exhilarating.
Much to my chagrin, JG does not so much enjoy cities. He finds them loud and dirty. There’s too much going on and there aren’t enough trees. People are brusque and always in a rush. He doesn’t relish the theater or the ballet and his palate is not quite as expansive as mine. Rather than go out for dinner when they charge way too much money for not much food, JG would prefer to stay home and fire up the grill so that he can have a steak the way he likes it.
In a way, I understand. Our life and our home are comfortable and I am grateful for them. Lately, though, I’ve been clicking enviously through the pictures that college friends are taking on their two-week jaunt through Europe and it makes me feel oh-so sedentary. Despite undersized portions of foreign food, it’s nice to have a chance to be an adventurous city mouse.