A few hours ago I rolled out of bed after last night’s late return from a few days away. My cupboard was bare, and the easiest way to get through the morning seemed to be shuffling to the local coffee shop for a coffee and a quart of milk. I threw on my glasses, some yoga pants and a shirt, grabbed my wallet and headed out the door.
At some point I saw my shadow on the ground and realized I hadn’t done anything to tame the curls that had been smooshed on the pillow all night. I hadn’t washed my face or brushed my teeth. I probably passed twenty people walking down the street, all of whom saw me exactly as I was.
One of my friends who has lived in the city his whole life comments on how at least in the city everyone wears their weird right out in the open. No one tries to hide anything because with everyone living on top of each other, you can’t. And if you think that city dwellers are desensitized and don’t notice each other, you are wrong, at least about the Boston neighborhoods. Everyone sees everything (and everyone talks!)
My biggest frustration with the town I grew up in, an old tobacco town that became suburbanized and more affluent throughout my childhood, while we occupied our little patch of land on the edge of town, was that there was so much competition to appear a certain way. It wasn’t enough to have money, you had to spend it right – drive the right cars, take the right vacations. The pressure to “look right” was overwhelming, especially to an adolescent girl who has only ever known how to “look real”.
That is my favorite thing about where I live – that I am surrounded by real people, most of whom are too tired or jaded to put on airs. I can wander to the coffee shop just as I am, and greet my neighbors along the way.