Thursday, November 27, 2008

The reminders you don't want

A little housekeeping out of the way first...

#1- Would you believe this is my 400th post?? I find it hard to believe that, over a little less than two years, my creativity has re-appeared again to such an extent that I have thought of 400 unique things to say (more if you consider guest posts, half-written posts that I abandoned, and my work at Umm... Now What?)

#2- Thank you all so much for all the wonderful music recommendations! I was surprised at how many people suggested other artists that I already adore, which gives me high hopes for the music I have yet to listen to. Unfortunately, I was less than smart, and elicited all these suggestions right smack dab in the middle of the end of semester rush (after nearly nine years of this annual pattern, you'd think I'd figure it out), meaning I haven't had a spare moment to really listen to any of it yet. I'm the type of person that feels that new music should get my full attention on the first few listens, so I feel like I need a free afternoon to really revel in these delicious new tunes. Trust me, I'm looking forward to it!

#3- I am also happy to make an announcement of my first annual holiday giveaway. As mentioned last post, I am going to have a contest/draw sometime over the next few weeks for some mix CDs. I am still hashing out the details (e.g., how many do I want to give away?), but I am going to make both a mix of the delicious new tunes from all of your suggestions, as well as a compilation of the tunes I feel everyone should hear. So keep your eyes peeled!

#4- Speaking of Umm... Now What, we are back in search of guest posters. The stipulations are pretty vague-- it just has to be something related to life in our 20s. And, no, you don't need to be in your 20s to write it. It can be under your blogger name or anonymous. If you are interested, you can email me at princesspointful at gmail dot com if you have any questions, or send a piece directly to ummnowwhatblog at gmail dot com.

#5- Happy Thankgiving to all my American friends! Don't brag too much about your delicious dining, please, as some of us have very late regular week nights tonight, and may well be dining on instant noodles.

#6- People who choose Maybe Attending on Facebook event invites are officially the scum of the earth. It would be one thing if they truly had to wait and see if they were going to be around, but those who want to keep their "options open" can officially bite me. Just say you aren't coming. I don't want to be your back up option.
Can you tell I'm planning a birthday party? And one day after posting the events page, there are almost as many people officially confirmed as are "maybe attending".
(What do you mean this doesn't fit into my category of blog housekeeping??)

***

And, now, the real post...

As I've mentioned a number of times, I'm from a city much, much smaller than the one I currently reside. We're talking ten thousand as compared to several million.

When I first moved to the city, I assumed there would be a certain level of constant hypervigilence required. I remembered my mother's lectures every time we came to the big city, about keeping our wits about us and a tight hand on our purses. I remember our town's residents' steadfast insistences that the big city was full of drugs, crime, and anger. And although, as a teenager growing up four hours away from a town as large as a hundred thousand, I desperately wanted all the glamour I thought big city life offered, I was a little apprehensive about the other realities. As I drove in to the row of lights and billboards on the search for my first apartment when I was 19, I wondered if it was ever really possible to feel relaxed amidst all this action.

Of course, I adjusted, like one always does. The uneasiness I assumed would follow me around disappeared within a matter of weeks. As time passed, I began to find reasons for all those things a small town girl was told weren't safe in the city- walking home alone late, taking the night bus, living alone in a basement suite, working at a prison.

The differences I noticed were not the constant presence of malevolent people and malicious actions, as the nightly news had always taught me. It was more the lack of consideration, in all honesty. I get shocked more by the people who push past others, who ignore the person who has dropped their grocery bag, who fly through crosswalks full of pedestrians. My boyfriend commented on how I get more riled up at the actions of people on the bus than anything else, even seven years after leaving a small town. I'm used to people being mindful of those around them. It just doesn't occur to me not to hold open the door for the person a few feet behind me.

Lately, however, it seems as though the world has been trying to shock me into remembering how much has changed. It began with the witnessing of a violent crime in a public place. Then, on Tuesday, after I'd left work, two people were shot directly in front of the clinic I work at. My co-workers had to take the day off work because the front stoop was a crime scene. Last night, four blocks away from me, another man was shot, and jumped through the window of an apartment in a friend's building.

It's funny-- I read the headlines, just like everyone else, but I sometimes forget that this stuff really happens. This is even odder when you consider that I actually work with a forensic population, and thus hear in detail about these events as part of my day-to-day life. Yet, the very same scenarios I assumed would constantly bother me when I moved to the city are instead surprising me, reminding me of what I never believed I would forget, that I do live amongst those sensationalized headlines.

17 comments:

eric1313 said...

That's life in the big city.

I've been in and around Detroit for years and never had to worry about a thing, other than one time getting stiffed by a street merchant of various herbal remedies.

Other than that, I find that the nightly news broadcasts seem to generate hype in order to sound interesting enough to keep you from changing the channel to something more informative and/or relevant.

Is that invitation open-open, or just kinda open? I do like new challenges and reasons to spur creativity.

What I could really use? A daily prompt. I miss that about Creative Writing class.

Talk to you later! Gonna try to get a post together asap.

eric1313 said...

Oh yeah, I was robbed by the police one time, as well, on a trip to buy herbal remedies.

But hey, it's better than going to jail!

Kat from Tough Girl 101 said...

if it means anything, today we had chicken, courtesy of wal mart, potatoes from a box and enjoyed wine. Had the day off, yes, but no overeating in this house. Duke and I are just enjoying a day alone together - havent had one of those in almost a month.

Surfergrrl said...

would it help if i told you i feel like complete crap after eating too much tonight? OMG, I feel like I'm going to explode. food misery... :(

Jeff said...

400 posts. Wow. I've been slackin'

S'Mat said...

was that the martial arts shooting?

Deutlich said...

Ugh. I don't understand why humans like to be so cruel to other humans

the frog princess said...

Ah, the joys of city life...

I'd been living in NYC for 5 years when I first heard what I thought was a gunshot. Scared the living bejeezus out of me. I may or may not have stayed holed up in my apartment for the rest of the evening.

Then I got over it. One can't survive in a big city if one is constantly worried. But then, I think you know that :)

brookem said...

happy 400th post lady!
i will definitely think of some sort of guest post for the umm now what bloggy blog!
i hear you on the whole changing of the times. it's scary to think that stuff like this happens to very frequently, and right outside our doors.

verybadcat said...

I went through the opposite transition. Living in Detroit, and then Atlanta, when we moved to Asheville, it took me a few years before I adjusted to the low crime level. Now when people visit from Chicago, they think I'm trusting and/or stupid for not locking my house or not locking my car (when there's nothing in it). Bad things happen here, but there are a lot more people obviously worth robbing than me. Mostly I worry about random psycho violence, and what can one do about that, really?

Paula said...

that happened to me earlier on this year, when a woman's body was found feet from my friend's work and then less than a week later a woman was killed a five minute walk from my flat. until things like that happen so close by, sometimes it hard to really see the headlines as truly REAL.

Crushed said...

I think the sharpest reminder of how close really nasty crime can be happened to me was a few years back.

Now people are murdered in Birmingham every week. Only a month or two ago there were two separate stabbings in one day. But most of it is ganster stuff.

One day, I was watching the news and up came 'An old age pensioner in the Small Heath area of Birmingham was found murdered in his home today'.

Up came a picture of the house and I thought 'Sure I've seen that house'. Well, I guessed the chances were high, it being Small Heath I lived in.

Anyway, next day I pulled the front door shut, set off down the street, turned the corner, saw the plastic sheeting and the Police cordon...

Thirty feet from my door. If that.

He was killed at night, so I actually was about thirty feet from a murder.

nicoleantoinette said...

One of these days I'm absolutely going to do a guest post!!

chasinglibby said...

ohhhh emmmm gee i hate the maybe

lspoon said...

Oh my goodness. That's frightening.

I'm sure things like that happen in my very small town I just don't care to read or watch the news! Talk about the most frightening show on TV!

Daisy said...

Great post again! I think it's easy to forget that those things happen around us.

Oh and seriously I'd like to give a big AMEN to your "maybe attending" note. I agree with you full heartedly - and if I could remove that option from my facebook invites I would. :) Not that I'm admitting I'm on facebook or anything ...

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I'm guilty of 6#.

But it's not illegal.

Hahahahaha!!

~runs away~