Thursday, October 16, 2014

Through the Tunnel

I finally figured it out.
I could never quite decide if am truly a “city person” or not. Certainly I’m not a “country person”—I’ve never been especially into outdoor activities—but…do you really have to be just one or the other? I enjoy my occasional trips to the mountains, and sometimes it’s nice to get away from town for awhile. Can you be somewhere in between? Could I be somewhere in between?
Perhaps this is what the suburbs are for—you’re constantly on the fence, at the edge of both worlds, without having to fully commit to one or the other.
But for myself, I finally figured it out.
Yes, in fact—I am a city person.
It’s the lights.
They glow. And when they glow, they do something to you. If you let them do something to you, that is.
I’ve been to Phoenix several times now, for various lengths of stay. This time around, Emily, Emerson, and I were in town for three nights.
Somewhere along the I-10 in Eastern Phoenix—a bit near Mesa, to be more precise—you drive through a tunnel. And that’s when I knew: It’s the lights. It’s the way they color the skin on your hand, one split-second at a time, as you’re driving through the tunnel and holding your left hand out the window, being transfixed by the persistent coming and going of this small aura.
That’s when I realized that I’m a city person.
For all its pro’s and con’s, this is something that I sorely miss in Albuquerque. We have lights. And when you’re driving into town at night, coming in from the west on the I-40, those lights put on a wondrous display. They make Albuquerque look bigger than it is, and more lovely—this is true of all cities, I think; the lights at night can be awfully, beautifully deceptive about the size and grandeur of even the smallest towns. And those Albuquerque lights seem to say that there is something here, just above the city, hanging in the air like a low-lying cloud, ready to weave its spell in between the yellows and reds and greens. For better or worse, they certainly have their own enchantment.
But in Albuquerque, there are no tunnels. At least, not like the tunnels in Phoenix. Not like along the 101 Highway just a bit north of Santa Barbara. Not like in Chicago and Dublin and San Diego.
It’s the lights that I miss; it’s the lights that remind me why I really am a city person, through and through. They do something to you, if you let them.
So let them.

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