Loving city living

Bob Mackey

After spending a week vacationing in Chicago, I have a certain amount of resentment for my city-dwelling friends.

They grew up in the culture-filled land of tall buildings and liquor store riots meeting interesting people and being on the cutting edge of music. I spent most of my life in the stagnant suburbs, playing in empty streets and numerous strip mall parking lots.

Some people prefer suburbs and hate the city. These are the same people who go to Applebee’s by choice and will continue to order the same menu item until they die. I speak not to them; rather, the following is a collection of benefits the city has over suburban and small-town life.

The homeless. You shouldn’t mock the poor. As college students remember you’re always one student loan check away from making chunky soup out of a boot and assorted rat leavings. But the cities’ homeless make each step outside a wonderful journey into the many pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Truly, the line between sanity and madness is razor-thin.

Mass transit. As a car owner who deals with urban sprawl on a daily basis, I have to say that this “blood for oil” system I read about on bumper stickers isn’t very efficient. Divide the price of a barrel of petroleum by the number of dead American soldiers and you’ll see we’re clearly getting screwed. This is where the buses and trains come in. Not only is mass transit cheaper and more efficient than car travel, but the suicidal nature of most city bus drivers also makes every trip to the store a roller coaster ride, except you could die horribly in a burning cage of metal and glass.

Lack of chains. Do you know how refreshing it is to not see a T.G.I. Friday’s for an entire week? The best part of urban eating is how easy it is to find good, cheap foreign food on almost any city block. It’s as if the proprietors don’t realize they’re in America, where they have the god-given right to totally fleece their customers. “Hmm, I can buy an entire birthday cake at this Chinese bakery for only eight cents? This doesn’t seem right.”

Only in America.

Bob Mackey is a graduate student in English and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].