A while ago I moved from a city with one million people, to a town with ten thousand. That’s been weird sometimes.
Living in a small town is nice; Main Street is actually the main street, and I can walk to anywhere that I need to be. But small towns are low in two places: anonymity and layers. A small town is too easy to manage. It can be kept clean and organized and affordably maintained. People want to stop to tell you that they recognize you, that they saw you walking the other night, and that you’re new here. And they assume that this is a reason to continue the conversation and to ask you where you’re from and what you do for work. I miss the coldness of the city. It is reassuring knowing that everyone is too caught up in their own shit to bother giving you any of theirs. It's comforting to know that they are honest with their priorities.
But I can slip out when I need to. Vancouver is only an overnight bus away and that city is a giant chaos stuffed with people wrapped up in their own shit. And it’s beautiful. And the only people that know my name are the ones that I decide to tell. It’s my privilege again. I try to spend most of my time walking and looking when I’m there; faces, buildings, conversations, garbage, graffiti, lights, lines and signs. I try to digest the man-hours that have gone into creating and sustaining this thing. Try to consider all of the hands that have added and taken away from this, and have become a part of it. But that gets overwhelming and I get lazy and confused. So I just walk around and I can relax, surrounded by people too caught up in trying to leave their mark on this place, to realize that they already have.