I don't think I ever really suited cities. I never really felt truly comfortable in them regardless of the fact I had a lot of fun and spent some of the best years of my life living in them. My life in cities, especially towards the end, consisted of trying to escape them at any possible moment. Hobart in Tasmania probably represents the upper confines of what I believe I could comfortably thrive in long term.
I couldn't live in the city again, but damn are they great to visit. I'm writing this during my first full day in Mexico City and I'm already intrigued and fascinated by it all.
There's so much to look at. I guess when you squeeze twenty million people into a 'relatively' small area you're going to get interesting results. People are forced to coexist whether they like it or not. What comes of this is a wild mish‐mash of personalities and lives all crammed together in one space — all day, every day.
Like the two men selling gas in the middle of Avenida Cuauhtemoc this morning teaching each other boxing moves as they jockied back and forth on the footpath, jumping this way and that. I watched on anonymously in amusement from a distance. It seemed a lot more fun than work.
Or like the kids racing up and down the footpath in front of where I drank my coffee, completely oblivious to passing strangers as they bumped this way and that. A few people even got tangled up in the lead. Some chose to laugh it off before heading off on their way, others seemed utterly insulted. The kids didn't care, they were having the time of their lives.
Later in the day, as I stood in line for entry into Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's casa, a local bus pulled up at an intersection. An old man sat behind the wheel, boasting a belly that many beer‐drinking Aussies would be envious of. He sat with an air of tranquility on an empty bus, smoking a cigarette and appearing nonchalant his afternoon routine.
Cities are a representation of communities. No, they simply are communities. Massive ones. They are in essence a form of community that is forced upon us. We do not choose who we live next to, who we work with or whose dog runs circles around us in the street. But while we don't choose all those things, we can choose how we exist and how we interact with each other. It's the part we have control of.
I love cities for those beautiful moments where strangers willingly engage with each other, often with surprising and rewarding moments. I don't think I'll live in a big city again but I'll continue to be fascinated by them, and the people that thrive in them, for the rest of my life.