Fragment: On cities
I’m not from a city. Oh sure, where I live is technically classed as one, but I’m yet to hear it referred to as such without the person doing the talking either smiling wryly, rolling their eyes, or (and) adopting that all-knowing, tired, slightly sarcastic tone for the word.
And fair enough, too. I don’t know of too many cities that you can cross completely on foot in ten minutes, and see only ten people in the process, and know five of them personally.
So the true world of the city is not my world.
But, as you would know if you have been here before, that world fascinates me.
I’m that person who you see, wandering slowly across the footpath in irritating diagonal lines, blocking foot traffic and straining my neck from constantly glancing upwards, wondering if the people inside those windows are straining their necks from constantly glancing down at this steady thrum of activity below. I suspect they are not.
Melbourne intrigues me. Perhaps because so many of my friends were lost to it, moving to the promise of new, more, bigger, faster and then, like moths to the light, forgetting they were anywhere and anyone else. It seems a kind of beast vacuum to me, sucking in food, people, resources, energy, water, and spitting out… what? Waste, ideas, mountains of rubbish and rivers of shit. But still, I love it. I love my slow diagonal wanderings, feeling just comfortably lost as I search one laneway and then another, moving through the streets like one more blood cell in the vast networks of stone and concrete veins that feed the heart of this beast.
It requires focus to make sense of it, to see the patterns and the relationships in time and space unfold. It rewards patience, even as life there continues to move at a pace that invokes forgetfulness.
Next week, I’m going to Sydney. Hello, next big city. I’m looking forward to making my own sense of you.