Visible (Part One)

Before catching a couple shows last Thursday (Root Shock at Funk ‘N Waffles and The Magnetic Pull, Heretofore and Formidable Duke at Otro Cinco), I relaxed with Adam Gopnik’s From Paris to the Moon and an ale outside at Clark’s Ale House.

I only spent about 45 minutes at the ailing beer and beef joint, but it was interesting to watch the simultaneous transitions of the sky darkening and the street lamps glowing brighter. It’s a simple concept.

Despite the intensifying lights and interference by the moon, stars could be seen. They’re prominent.

Excerpt, From Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
Excerpt, From Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

The challenging book, as always, fueled my desire to travel, read and write more — not necessarily in that order, but as a bundle. in this sitting, one of the sentences that stood out: “We go to cities to be invisible or to be invisible and visible by turns, and it is hard to be invisible in Paris.”

New York City immediately popped into my head.

Why didn’t I ever move to or live in a larger city? Should I have? The question sometimes plagues me.

Every visit to New York is enticing. Downstate friends — the transplants — are proactive with playing devil’s advocate, and they do a great job of being discrete about coaxing. They know how to plant those seeds.

Larger cities are exciting places. The vastness and perceived infiniteness is appealing. It’s nice to walk around, feel like a visitor and have no one pick up on it.

Syracuse seemingly grows smaller by the day, but it isn’t necessarily bad. The more interactions and increasing connections leads to a two degree of separation. The next step is looking at a bigger picture of the county, then expanding to the region before bringing in the rest of state and so forth.

However, people upstate say there is too little or nothing to do. Yet they’re busy with personal responsibilities, so they can’t enjoy the fun they used to have. In truth, there is actually too much to do, too much to fit in for a weekend and too many sacrifices to make. Yes, it’s also a fear of missing out, missing what once was.

If I lived elsewhere, I’d probably be in the same, current situation. I’d still be 33. I’d still be involved or at least (attempting) dating, sans “pressure” to get married and have kids. I’d still be working.

In upstate suburbia: Idealistically I thought I’d have settled by now. I thought I’d have kids. I’m still going through the trials of a relationship. The heaviness of having a job without offered benefits, the even greater fear of not having a job or bouncing from one to another in a wishy-washy economy.

As for friends, for a fact, I’d be hanging out with less people. It’s interesting that in such a huge place, there is more confidence and comfort with finding a select handful to stay closest to. If joining an improv scene could be afforded, it’d still be questionable of being accepted or even hanging out with them.

No matter what, there will still be people. People blaring music or Martin Luther King Jr. speeches from their cars. Kids on skateboarders rolling or walking by. Tween boys yelling profanity and derogatory terminology about their own race, words they are trying to remove from the English language. Over beer people participate in conversation about life and religion and other typical topics; there is always one needing to feel the most vocal and taking offense, stating they’re not being heard. The intermittent buzzing of the lamp post. Clacking of heels upon sidewalks and streets. People unhappy with their jobs, spouses or partners; people too happy about their jobs, spouses or partners. Jingle of a dog’s collar (would be good right here). Familiar faces not saying hello; new faces passing along smiles or a hello.

Life still exists. This book still exists.

[Looking up.]

But those stars. I remember seeing them in my travels. They’re more prominent up here, however. When driving to the in-between of suburban and rural, the sky grows even more majestic. The constellations are easier to pick out, and their stories return faster.

Oh, cognition.

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