Oh I know what you are going to say, they’re impersonal, they’re rude, they’re noisy, they’re scary and all of that is true but they are also wonderful, charming delightful places.
It is a good thing we don’t live in television. Aside from the distasteful reality shows and the soap operas and the mindless children’s shows, (Is it any wonder that kids are rushing to grow up? If you had to deal with a steady diet of Sponge Bob or Dr Seuss you’d be in a hurry too. How do they stand it? It makes my teeth itch just walking past a set with that on.), and the WWF, television is a dangerous place to live.
In the real world there are only ten or twelve serial killers operating in the whole of the United States and while you wouldn’t want to live next door to one, you aren’t likely to run into one at Wally World. But on TV they are behind every door, each hedge, under every rock, leaf and twig and they all speak and act like Hannibal Lecter, (Thank you Tony Hopkins) but they aren’t the worst thing you have to face, for heaven’s sake don’t get shot on television!
In the life getting shot falls somewhere between getting struck by lightning and going to dinner with Bruce the great white shark from Jaws. And if you do, there is an eighty percent chance you’ll walk away not only from the hospital but from the crime scene too. You’d be amazed at how much insult the human body can manage and still have enough left over to get away from a hospital.
But on television if you get shot and aren’t one of the lead actors, you are just dead.
No wonder cities scare the tar out of us.
And the drugs and the gangs and the violence, oh my! There are drugs and there are gangs although there weren’t nearly as many in nearly as many places before the Feds started giving out Gang Suppression grants. If you want an extra patrolman or two and you ask the Feds for some cash they will injure themselves laughing, but to fight gangs, you can get a starter grant of fifty thousand dollars and more if there are actually kids living in your town. Yeah that’s right some of the grants went to places with no kids but that all got sorted out in six or seven years which isn’t all that long in government years.
The drugs and the violence do exist, but they frequently go together, no buy drugs no risk of violence.
So why are we so frightened of the big Bad City?
Well, we aren’t, not everywhere. Did you know that the residents of the largest city on the continental shelf, New York City don’t even use the New York part, they call their home The City, yes, my diligent little Grammarians the The gets capitalized cause it is a proper noun used in this context. It is the first name of City.
And even though The City has as many of the sins and sores of any modern metropolis, the residents love their city and they walk about, wisely but unafraid, for the most part.
How in the world do they do that, I heard you ask?
They can do it because they live in little towns scattered all around The City.
Back when the earth had just started to cool and things were crawling out of the ooze, John Neely Bryan built a cabin along the banks of the Trinity River where I hear there was water and fish something the Trinity hasn’t had in the last millennia and settled down. Why he did no one can say, but he did and from that humble beginning Dallas grew.
Dallas is unique it has no reason to exist, there are no ports, no railheads, no natural resources, no vast forests, no industry and even after ole John got some neighbors there wasn’t any of that stuff.
But Dallas got built and it swallowed up everything in its path. There used to be a dozen cities surrounding Dallas. Now they are all part of the city and even though they have lost their independence, they have never surrendered their character.
You want an Irish Pub? There’s a place. Want a dark, dirty, smoke-filled jazz club there’s a place. Want a poetry jam, here’s a place. There’s a place because the small towns within the giant city have kept there own nature.
Why do you care? Dallas is 1800 miles away and it is hot, dry and full of Republicans and those are just the worst parts.
You care because part of being an artist is finding a place where you can recharge your batteries.
Sure, there are folks who can do that with meditation. I hear shoes and chocolate can do it if you are of the distaff persuasion. Never understood the unhealthy relationship women have with foot gear. Some people get their tank topped up with a trip out into Nature, but every last one no matter where they plug in their charger needs that place. If you live in paradise and coming from Texas I can tell you this is pretty damn close, then you’ve got it made. If you don’t don’t despair, go find your small town and see if there aren’t some of those wonderful, like minded people there looking for just the things you have to offer.
You’ll be surprised how much magic can found if you stop trembling and hiding afraid of the dark and come out into the world and find a family, a town where you are one of the Big Fish. Maybe that’s what I missed about ole John; it wasn’t the place so much as the chance that pals would show up that made him stay.