I love cities more than anything.
I love the density of city blocks – twenty-story buildings blotting out the sunlight. Crowds of students, tourists, people on business. Diners and narrow, ancient storefronts. Cabs passing green statues. Ten dollar sandwiches and eight dollar drinks. Bars open until four, clubs open until sunrise. Five million people in the same twenty square miles, in defiance of all sense. Being alone in a crowd; making friends out of strangers. I love cities.
You have to beg and threaten to get me to go camping with my best friends in the world – and I say this from experience, and it hasn’t worked – but I’ll take a trip to see a city at the drop of a hat. I’ll buy bus tickets, train tickets, plane fare, whatever it takes.
I think my love affair with dense urbanity keeps me from embracing my functional anarchism to its full extent – that Daniel Quinn certainty that tight collections of human beings require powerful states and entrenched corporations to sustain them. They clearly do. And I clearly can’t live without them. I’m the product of a world I think is unnatural, and it bugs me at times. But then I see the Manhattan skyline from the Acela Express, or get to watch Boston turn the night sky pink, and I forget it all. Cops, unions, housing codes, churches? Bring ‘em on!
All this I say to preface the trip I just booked to Chicago for two weeks from today (August 21-24). Let me know if you want to a visit from a wide-eyed Bostonian while I’m there.