Urban Stereotypes

May 5, 2012 · 7:30 am

There are many things I don’t like about living in the city.  One is that it’s a ridiculous mess.  There are trees planted along some of the sidewalks, and people use the base of the tree as a trashcan.  I have no idea why it makes more sense to litter on the one living thing in sight than to just throw your trash on the street where at least it will get swept up when the street sweeper comes around to give you a parking ticket clean.  Also, Dear Neighbors, why must all twenty people at your party stand on the sidewalk and have a dramatic fight at 2am every time the temperature rises above 60?

A couple years ago, a little boy was hit and killed by a truck on our street. Last year sometime, I saw a woman get mugged as she was walking down the sidewalk across from our house.  These aren’t things that happened when we lived out in the cornfields in Manheim.  These aren’t things that happened when we lived in the bush in Kenya.  So I don’t always love living in the city.

But I have to admit, there are positives, too.  The street we live on has at least five different nationalities represented in the span of half a block, and that’s just on one side.  Sometimes when we go the park, the Paris Hilton lookalike in a designer jogging outfit stops to let Nati pet her chihuahua and one time a homeless woman in a motorized wheelchair gave Nati some candy corn from her stash.  Having the chance to interact with such a variety of people on a regular basis is a gift.

Sometimes people ask me if I feel nervous in the city.  Aside from the traffic, I can honestly say, no.  When I was living in DC during my last semester at EMU, our instructor gave us a tip.  She said that when you walk down the street, you should smile at the people you pass.  Over time a sort of bond is formed, even if no words are ever exchanged, and those people are looking out for you.  When I walk down familiar streets in Lancaster, I know that dozens of people are “looking out for me” and I feel safe.  And sometimes, complete strangers are looking out for you too.  Like that time Nati almost ran out in the street and a woman stopped him.

Yesterday, as I was walking the kids to the park in their stroller, it got stuck in a crack (gaping hole) in the sidewalk.  The one person who rushed to help me looked something like this:

Only with more tattoos and piercings, and a little less…you know… The Rock.  Nothing quite compares to having a giant help you with your stroller.  So thanks to the anonymous biker guy who helped me out, city life is not so bad.

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