Clash of the Titans LXXIII: City v Country

February 29, 2008, 11:00 am; posted by
Filed under Chloe, David, Debate  | 8 Comments

In this corner, living in the country, is Chloe!

And in this corner, residing in the city, is David!

Nowhere, New Mexico

It’s 6:15 in the morning, and I’m on my way to work. The sky has a mashed potatoes and golden butter look to it, and the sunrise’s fingers turn pink as they stretch further west. The sunflowers are blooming, yellow heads turned up to worship the sun. A few times on the mountain pass, I have to slow for the massive elk wandering across the road.

The cafe opens at 7, and like clockwork, Frank and Roy and Robert come in for their eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. I don’t ask how they want their eggs done, or what kind of bread they prefer. They’re here every morning; I already know.

Throughout the day, Anne and Mike, Sam and Elaine, Mark, Lisa, and Jacob will probably come in to chat and check out the special. Today will be busy, both with work and with catching up with everyone, passing on praises and prayer requests.

On the way home, I’ll wave at the people I pass on the mountain. Some I recognize, others I don’t. When I get home, Grandma and I will eat dinner on the porch and watch the thunderstorm march over the valley. We’ll take the dogs on a long walk before settling down with some hot chocolate and a good book by the time the storm breaks over us.

London, UK

Some friends and I have decided to go to a pub for dessert — a pub that we frequent at least once a week. It’s close to Guy Fawkes Day and there are fireworks going off everywhere, but we don’t linger. It’s after dark and this is a park; we should move as fast as we can.

We spend two hours at the pub, oblivious to the passing time and the Sunday drunks surrounding us. When we look up again, my purse is gone.

The gruff bartender promises that he’ll provide the police with CCTV and takes my name down, but won’t let me use his phone to call the police myself: “Don’t you have a mobile?”

“Well, I did. It’s in my purse.” Moron.

My friends and I leave the pub. I call the police from a friend’s phone while several sirens scream by me. They don’t answer. When I try again and they pick up, the Cockney operator tells me disdainfully to call the non-emergency number.

I run home down London’s dirty streets under the patches of dark clouds because I have to get rid of the nervous energy. I don’t stop shaking till morning.

I was raised in the city, that noted bastion of civilization, and although the country is a wonderful place to visit, I would not choose to live there full time, and the main reason is the lack of people.

I once lived on a farm for a summer, and I can assure you, it gets boring when your nearest neighbor is a mile or more away. What good is a chess set with no one to play? What good is a softball field if all you can do is bat rocks with a stick while playing an imaginary game in your mind? Any truly joyous activity requires the presence and participation of other human beings. And you can find them in the city.

Ever since the first rude barbarians realized that domesticating animals and cultivating crops was much easier than chasing your food down and killing it in the forest — while trusting serendipitous encounters with edible fruits and vegetables for roughage — cities have been generally acknowledged as the best mode of living upon this green earth. Indeed, the entire course of civilized history was one in which barbarians settled down to the good life, lost their wild lonesome ways, then patiently waited to be conquered by the next envious band of brutes who realized what they were missing in their rustic wanderings.

I believe that every person needs a good balance of quiet solitude and lively social intercourse. For me, the city provides the best opportunity for both. When I want to be left alone, I go into my library and close the door, or I watch TV with my wife in the living room. When I want to be with people, I go sit on my front porch, or we go out to eat.

And nothing equals a walk through our neighborhood, where the sidewalks are sheltered by ancient shade trees, bordering the twilight beauty of gentle homes twinkling with warm light — as evening settles on the distant spires of chapels, and various towers of commerce, that grace our small city.

Alexander the Great did the world a signal act of service, for which we should all feel gratitude, when he conquered the entire civilized world, establishing one common language and a culture that revered education and the building of public libraries and theaters. Where would we be without this grand impetus toward education and social intercourse, which was followed up and fortified so well by the laws and roads of Rome?

Never mind, I know where we would be — the Dark Ages. When libraries were burned, priceless art was destroyed forever, and the great cities were broken and all but abandoned.

Tribuo mihi urbs!



8 Comments to “Clash of the Titans LXXIII: City v Country”

  1. Connie on February 29th, 2008 1:04 pm

    Wow, finally a debate I could have disagreed with my brother on. Steve says we can’t clash because we too alike! I do love my country living though, Miss Gabor.

  2. David on February 29th, 2008 1:46 pm

    You know me though Sis, my favorite plaground was behind Dad’s TV shop in those brick alleys with fire escapes to climb.

  3. Steve on February 29th, 2008 1:48 pm

    Oh, I didn’t say you can’t clash, just that it’s hard. There’s a clash coming soon between you two…

  4. David on February 29th, 2008 1:49 pm

    Uh, oh…

  5. Connie on February 29th, 2008 3:32 pm

    I couldn’t play back there because the smells coming from the Chinese restaurant (The House of Gee) next door made me nauseous. I honestly thought I would instantly vomit upon entering any Asian eating establishment, because that place smelled so bad.

    I am looking forward to our clash. Although I have no topic, I’ve got it half written in my head, and coincidentally involves that chess set you already mentioned. :)

  6. David on February 29th, 2008 5:00 pm

    I stole that chess set we had in Mannsville from Leo Booras when we moved away from Watertown. Then Mom comes home from work one day and she gets out of the car saying “Hey, guess who I ran into in Watertown? Your best friend!Leo Booras! He came home with me to spend the weekend!” as Leo is getting out of the passenger door…

  7. Connie on March 3rd, 2008 4:21 pm

    So, ah, what did you do all weekend?

  8. Steve on March 3rd, 2008 4:53 pm

    Hey now, send an email or something!

Leave a comment!