Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Living for the City

There are several ways to know that you are truly living in an urban setting. The classic ways, i.e. losing your religion, wearing more black, calling your parents less, suckling at the bitter teat of irony, are all really just stereotypes concocted by shadow organizations in Colorado Springs and worried parents worldwide. In a place where you can be anything for a day, you can be a perfectly fine and functioning Christian as long as you're willing to live next door to a nice gay couple from Bangalore.

No, the true ways to know that you have become urbane beyond your aspirations as a young sod-covered farm boy are subtle things. This morning in the shower I found myself lathering in motions coordinated with the pounding of the jackhammer across the street. I made it into a little dance. I've never been cleaner faster.

I finally have a hot dog cart in my neighborhood. Two blocks away, if I so wish it, I can have a hot dog, burrito, or eggroll for more or less than a dollar. There are no tourists in Rosslyn, so I'm paying worker prices for my pretzel, my delicious triple-bleached dough pretzel with flecks of salt the size of fingernails, again, for little over or under a dollar. I'm going to start bringing my own mustard.

Last night, I was tired of writing and decided to go for a walk. It was 2 AM (it's finals week, this isn't something I normally do) and as I went out the back door of my apartment building, I discovered that there were homeless men doing their laundry in our laundry room. They were standing around naked, because when you're panhandling you don't really have change to spare for a second load of wash for what you're wearing.

Sunday, my girlfriend and I took her dog to a dog park a couple of blocks from my apartment. She has a very big dog and I was worried about how a big dog would cope in the city. This is a farm dog, a hunting dog, a dog that lies under the table and chews massive bones while you regale the family with old war stories. At the park were dogs that put her dog to a diminutive shame. Massive beasts that are only slightly removed from eating humans but still willing to eat cats. So now I think having a big dog in the city is a great idea: to protect me from the bigger dogs.

I know I'm a dazzling urbanite because I feel like I could have everything I want in a five-block radius. I can have a big dog, casual nudity, and a pretzel just by stepping out of my door. Some more privacy would be nice, but you gain that at the risk of losing that certain level of connection to the world outside. Even if the world outside connects to you by stealing your bike twice in one week.