I sometimes don't know to feel about visiting City B., the land of my birth. Time spent there generally elicits two basic types of responses: either I feel the tug of the friendships now decades in progress and the comraderie that engenders, or I miss the pulse, the energy of my current locale and the excitement it brings to my daily life. Do I choose the warmer, more quiet pastoral life of small city living, or do I attempt to find my way in a great, worldly metropolis? Or do I try to find something in between? I don't know.
This time out, I definitely felt the pull of City B. In particular, I got to spend a lot of time with my friend L., the man who has graciously consented to be the Best Man at my wedding. L. and I met when our desks were next to each other in First Grade. Our lives since have evolved in largely parallel directions, sometimes diverging slightly for a time, sometimes strongly overlapping, but always in easy reach of one another. On this particular outing, we got to indulge our shared love of whisky. I brought back the Signatory 14 year old bottling of Laphroaig single malt that was INCREDIBLE and a mutual friend brought over a bottle of Woodford Reserve small batch Bourbon the next night that was oh-so-VERY smooth. We also share a love of food -- it felt good to have some reasonably authentic Buffalo-style chicken wings with L. one night, and L. made some homemade ice cream flavored with Guiness of all things. With him there is a knowledge and shared appreciation for so many things that it is hard to find in any one other person. It's a tough combination to beat.
At the same time, I also felt the attraction for City B. because of its climate and cost of living. L. lives in a house he bought for around $70,000. As fellow competitors in the urban rat race no doubt know, there is no way short of selling your soul to the Devil to get a house that cheap in the vicinity of a large city in the United States today. Also, barring some afternoon showers, the climate during my visit was mild. On one beautiful day, I got to walk around the old neighborhood and see retirees tending their houses and lawns. I also saw children at a local Elementary school taking class on the lawn in front of the school. It all harkened back to the more Rockwellain characteristics of my youth, and I felt that pull on my heart.
At the same time, I know why I am here. Jobs are here and career choices are here -- the area where I live is one of the top job markets in my field to be found anywhere in the world. I get career experience here that I cannot really get most other places. There are also choices; moving back to the vacinity of City B. would entail taking a job that would pretty much have to be my last if I wanted to stay in the area. Here at least many positions likely exist what would be interesting and challenging to me.
Yet still... I feel the pull of my roots. It would be great to be close to family. It would also be great to be part of the lives of friends like L. who I have known for decades. It would be great to be able to buy a house for less than a quarter of a million dollars. Yet here I am, and here I am likely to stay -- torn between two worlds.
on 2003-06-03 at 4:02 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond