There are people who like small towns and there are people who like cities. And then, of course, there are people who like cities so much that they require the noise, clamor and constant flurry of other people to function properly.
For the better part of my teenage and young adult life, I’ve found myself taking the bus into the centre of the city for no other reason than to just be there. Simply because I wanted to sit on a bench while reading and people-watching in a crowded place. That said, it is only recently that I started to realize how much of city slicker I really am. Not because I need the easily accessible shops, restaurants and entertainment (although that is something that I can certainly appreciate), but because I feel as though the inspiration for my writing and my thoughts come primarily from finding myself surrounded by other people from all walks of life.
I think the shocking realization occurred to me when I was wandering through a new city that I was visiting for work a few months ago: given a working internet connection, I felt much more comfortable in a metropolis that I had never visited before than I did in a small town in my own backyard.
I always questioned how such a steadfast introvert can prefer the noise of cities to just about anything else. Aren’t people like me supposed to prefer a solitary existence in some picturesque mountain town of about 80 people? But perhaps, contradictory as it may seem, small towns do not offer the same possibilities of anonymity that cities of one, five or even ten million do. When you find yourself surrounded by people who could not care less about what you do, you can truly erase yourself in a sea of other thoughts, struggles and stories. In an experience that may mimic looking at an ocean or a mountain range, living among thousands of other people makes your own life story seem insignificant.
For a reason that I cannot quite pinpoint right now, this feeling has always been important to me.