Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Joys of Coming and Going at Will

You know that saying, the grass is always greener on the other side of the mountain, or over the septic tank or other place; well that is usually only a cliche. There are times when moving can’t be avoided and you will have to live with it. When you yearn to go to a place because it seems....., well, after you get there it could certainly be a downer.

I have been bellyaching about the city and wanting to move out to a saner, orderly, and perhaps even quieter locale but I would want all of the comforts and conveniences that I have now. I am not sure that they exist in the same way in other places but I am looking around. Being able to get where you want to go, when you want to go is truly priceless and is an obvious lure to this city.

I met a woman at the bus station last week-end waiting for the bus to Philadelphia. I arrived about half an hour before the scheduled departure and she was already on line. I struck up a conversation, complementing her on her dress. She was wearing a lovely green linen skirt set – avocado green, very nice. We then talked about this and that, to pass the time. As we talked, she remarked that she wants to settle down in New York City. She apparently commutes often to Philadelphia, shuttling between family members in the two cities. She didn’t mind the travel, but her desire to remain in NYC is fueled by her perceived loss of independence while in Philadelphia; the independence to come and go at will.

The word independence means governing or not requiring or relying on something or someone else; not subject to control by others, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary. When we use the word, the implication is varied and depending on when or what or who is involved in the conversation, it could mean or imply just freedom of movement, the ability to get from place to place by your self or by your own means. You may drive a vehicle, ride a bicycle, pay for mass transit, walk, run, but traveling as you desire or choose.

The mass transit system or public transportation system is not good in the area where she is staying, she said. She is therefore dependent on family members while in Philadelphia to get around. In NYC she has several modes of public transportation and easy access to them. She can come and go as she pleases and for a reasonable sum of money. This limitation to her movement or inability to go to the stores for example causes her some amount of stress and unhappiness. She otherwise enjoys the quiet, easy pace of life there but the lack of means to move around kills her interest to settle there, at least in the area that she knows.

I understood her plight thoroughly and had some flashbacks of my own encounters. I remember being in places where I had to rely on a set schedule to get out and back 'home.' I didn’t like the confinement and loss of freedom to move at will. This loss takes a toll on the psyche and creates a longing for places and times when access and freedom to move at will was/is the order of the day! So despite all of the issues and concerns and dislikes we have about living in this city, somethings are not negotiable. The joys of being able to come and going at will is priceless.

Independence: what does it mean to you?

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