Sunday, February 28, 2010
A Strange Fascination With Degrees
I really like north Texas. It's an odd place to like; there isn't much there, and it's dusty and hot. But the sky is impossibly large, and the sheer amount of space just captivates me. I'm looking forward to driving through it again.
My favorite places in the United States are the extremes. I love the big cities and the vast empty stretches of nothing. If I had to make a blanket statement, I would say that the best of the U.S. is in these places, and the worst is in the suburbs and exurbs. I don't know if that's one hundred percent true, but I think it's at least a fair thing to say. If you want the great things this country has to offer, your best bet is to get off a subway stop in NYC or park your motorcycle by highway 60 in Willow Springs, Missouri. Anything in between will be degrees of compromise. Everything I like about this country, certainly, I have found in either small towns or big cities.
One reason, perhaps the reason, is we are an extreme nation. There are few in-betweens. Traveling through Europe or Japan, the other places I have experience with, and I see towns as smaller cities. Not that they don't have their own personalities and quirks, but they aren't made up of different people. The degrees of separation between Milan and Torino are in culture and scale. They're real differences, but understandable. NYC and Elmira are worlds apart.
So, I'm excited about north Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. I'm ready to see those empty, vast spaces and meet the rare person who chooses to live there. I'm nostalgic for that huge, heavy sky pressing down on me. I wonder what the kids will think of our extremes.