The Racket #20 : CITIES
Poster by Natalie Cowan
06.11.2018 - ADOBE BOOKS - 7PM
The cities we grew up in.
Why do we live in the city? Why do we put up with gutters full of trash, crazies jumping in front of our cars, the sickly sweet odor of urine filling up our nostrils? We pay an arm and a leg and possibly an ear or an internal organ to live in a room in a house we don't own and never will. Beyond this, we take pride in the fact that our residence is on the outskirts of our city. That our home lingers on the edge of metropolis, far away from the towers and the bustling thoroughfares. We say things like, "It's like living in the city, but not" and though we smile and preen with the knowledge that we've found an oasis in the midst of the jungle that is our metropolitan home, the thought of "why even do it at all?" gnaws at us.
It has been a decade of living in this city, a decade of poop sculptures outside our doorway, of bearing witness to the end game of unknowable sadness, of pulling things out of our dog's mouth that make our gag reflexes shutter years in the future. Off the top of our heads we can think of ten reasons why this place isn't economically feasible, why it feels like every season every day and how it reduces the concept of a year being 365 days down to a timeless grey mass that only shifts if you look from a distance.
The future is bleak, right? Tech will strip the culture, your family will live in a one-bedroom with a roommate in the basement, you will never own anything that is your own except for expensive boots and a 65 dollar haircut bill. We are cement booted to the depths of this concrete sea and it takes three paragraphs to scratch the very surface of our frustrations.
So, why? Why, do we stay here when the thought of a simple cabin in the woods in a place where every mailbox has a name you know is a few hundred miles up the road? Because if everyday starts with the sound of a man yelling obscenities outside our window and ends with a drunk tossing his cookies on our front steps, we will always have a story to tell. Perhaps we will look forward at times, or down, or even back, and we will dread what we might see, but in retrospect, we will wear our experiences like a hardened exoskeleton, a thousand dollar suit with just a little scuff around the edges.
We, like you, will look like people from a city, act like people from a city, live like people from a city. We will, on the rare occasion, think towards a life in a cottage on a river in a glen, and maybe someday, a fractured image of that life will come true.
But let's not count on it. Let's look here and now and see past the McDonald's wrappers caught in the wind, the sewage systems bile-like odor and see that all of this is merely wrapping paper, coffee stained and rank with cigarette smoke, containing a immeasurable bounty of story, of experience, of life lived if you care to stick around.