“You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” — Italo Calvino
I’ve heard people fall in love with cities, get attached to them, and live long enough in them to call them home. I’ve fallen in love with various cities and towns but never lived long enough in any to get attached or call them home. Or I never ventured out for falling head over heels in love with them. I dislike crowded places, so I avoid them. I avoid all noise and confined areas, and I have curfew times. Surprisingly, I don’t mind having a curfew time because, as most of my friends comment, I tend to finish most of my work by 6 pm, tops 7 pm, and head home. In rare cases when I end up staying out, be it in the city I live in or the cities I visit, I find those moments magical, driven by passion, and as you might conclude, I get attached to them. I become clingy to those moments and relive them a thousand times. A million times.
The nasty part about falling in love with cities is that you’re heartbroken when you leave them. What you once called home will no longer shelter you and your whims and caprices. And starting over is never a cream puff. Starting over after having a home so wonderful has the power to rip us to shreds. Some cities and towns are potent enough to break us down and bring us to their feet. You get lost in their pandemonium, the people walking the streets like you and me — somewhat clueless, somewhat sorted. You can never call these cities and towns your own, for thousands are doing the same. It’s not your home when millions are attached to the same skyline you wake up for. That’s the problem. I can never get attached to cities because many like me will arrive and depart. Sometimes, way before their time.
But I wonder, certainly wonder, what it might feel like to venture a bit out of my comfort zone, rip off my walls of caution, wander the by-lanes of all the cities I’ve lived in, and see if I can ever call any of them my home. Maybe I cannot, but it might not hurt to try.
See, I’ve heard that people fall in love with cities, get attached to them, and live in them long enough to call them home, although I haven’t yet.
But hey, I’m looking for one.
If your city has a vacancy for a homeless person who fits the character definition of restlessness neurotic, stays indoors for a more significant part of the deal, and loves clear sunsets, let me know.
I might just sign up for it.