I live in the big city. It doesn't matter what big city - let's call it Flu Spork for the sake of convenience*. I've lived in Flu Spork my whole life. When people meet me, they say "you don't seem like you're from Flu Spork!" I guess they think this because I don't shiv them?
The other thing people say when they hear I grew up in Flu Spork is "wow, there's nowhere to really go after there!" They mean that all across this grand nation, the young and ambitious dream of moving to Flu Spork, but where do the young and ambitious of Flu Spork move to? I'm young(ish, now) and more ambitious than I'd admit on a first date with a traditionally-minded man whom I nevertheless wanted to roger, but I swore up and down for the longest that I was OUT OF HERE. It's silly and expensive and there's just no way to really build a life for yourself, unless a life for yourself = a moron carnival paid for with credit. My parents carved their niche out when things were less rough, when it could be argued that Flu Spork was a good, cheap, interesting place for a young couple to be (not that there were not the lean times when I was a bitty Vi). Comparing my experience with theirs, my possibilities in Flu Spork seemed even more limited. It keeps pulling me back, though - the skills and priorites and proclivities you gain here bind you ever closer to the city. It's not that you're unfit to live anywhere else, exactly, leaving just seems harder and harder until it doesn't make any sense at all.
The couple we saw in Providence this weekend, beaming and newlywed, don't have jobs that different from mine, or Hazzard's. They live, paying the same amount we pay for a little place in a walk-up in a peripheral neighborhood, in a enormous loft with bamboo floors and a wall of ten-foot high windows. Their building is a converted department store full of chatty young people who knock on each other's doors and met on the rooftop patio for drinks. (I know, barf. But let's just examine the SIGNIFIED here. Besides, it would be nice if I had someone other than my parents to dogsit.) It was a little plastic, and lord knows Providence, a neat town, is not Flu Spork, but it felt like a life. Not transient. Not a holding cell. They seemed content, or at least I imagined them to be, as I fiddled with their track lighting and admired their view. They were reaping already, whereas I feel like Hazzard and I just sow and sow and sow and wait, where we put off everything we truly want. Which isn't track lighting, really.
*NB - someone should make and market cheap sake in six-packs or something and call it sake of convenience.