I don't mean to be. But I am.
|The city that made me. Our iconic Space Needle is barely|
seen among the other buildings.
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m not working today. Well. I am working – from my cellphone and eventually my laptop. But I’m also driving a few hours south to spend the holiday at my mom’s house.
As a result of good planning, I was on the road by 8:30 a.m. and missed traffic. But about halfway to Vancouver (Wash.), my nasal passages are so clogged that I need meds – I’m not going to make it the rest of the way.
Siri, my trusty Siri, helps me get to the closest Walgreens, just off I-5, exit 79. This is semi-rural Washington. I’m about 90 miles outside of Seattle and just as many from Portland. It’s a lovely day – the sun is so bright but the air is too cold. I pull into the parking lot, hustle into the store, pick up my goods and a few treats for the boys (all four), and decide I need coffee. Fortunately I see a Starbucks across the intersection. I head to the counter and there’s a situation brewing. Buy two get one free isn’t registering on the register. A quick look around the store shows this is the only register working. I take a modified deep breath and my impatience rises. The issue gets resolved and it’s my turn. Beep, beep, beep and my goods go into the plastic bag. As I go to slide my card, the previous customer returns – to declare the error was never fixed. My attention stays fixated on my transaction. But she starts to talk – to me, the cashier, to the air. I continue to ignore her. It’s not my issue. I pay and leave. While walking to my car, I realize my actions, but shrug it off.
|When you change your perspective, you see|
things in a new light. The Space Needle from
another view point.
Into the car and across the intersection I go to Starbucks. In with a hurry, ready to order briskly – with the app pulled up on the phone. I spew out my order. The cashier steps away to make it. I put the phone up to the reader, waiting for the beep that signals I’m good head to the waiting area. No beep. Try again. Nothing. Cashier returns. “Okay, you can do it now,” she says, adjusting the reader. It works and with my order in hand, I head to the “accessories” section, shove a few packs of sugar in my pocket, add the cream to the coffee and step away, allowing others to use the counter. No one was standing there waiting.
Again, I shrug off my actions – which seem so out of character and place. I sit in the car and check email – 21 thus far today. Twenty-one issues needing various levels of my attention. I reply to most – and remind them I’m off today, but let me know how else I can help. The dogs sit in the backseat, noshing on their treats I purchased out of guilt. Their patience for my lifestyle has been a constant.
|A reason to move downtown:|
these alerts happen more often than not.
These automatic behaviors prove to me that I am a big city girl, something I never thought would happen, but always secretly wanted. In the big city, stores have many cashiers ready to help you, but really to get you out of the store and on with your day. In the big city, Starbucks operates efficiently – there’s no time to linger. Because of these cultural norms, I’ve adjusted my behavior. I’m used to being served quickly and impersonally. They don’t care about me and I don’t care about them – the cashiers or my fellow customers. Being big city means that you move with purpose, not with kindness. It means you solve problems as they come up – finding a small-town Walgreens and sitting in a parking lot responding to email.
Being big city means adapting, but not surrendering. In the big city, everything moves fast (besides the traffic), and you have to move with it or get run over. I love the pace, the energy. I love it so much that I’m contemplating selling the car and moving into the city. The idea has come to me many times. I stopped shunning and am letting it grow while my savings account does the same.
I don’t mean to be big city. But I am. I adapt. I’m fast, resourceful. I am a survivor. I know challenges will come – and I know I’ll conquer them. Because I’m big city now – and that’s how we roll.