When I lived in India, several years ago now, I lived in an older Indian woman’s home. She was a doctor and a widow and had traveled to New York while her husband was still alive. When she got here, she watched the news and was so scared by the stories she saw, she barely left the apartment she was in. She did however like the ice cream, and the cheese. And she also liked that you saw every type of face on the street in New York. She went on about how wonderful and interesting it was to be on a New York street, and to look around and see every type of person.
I spend a lot of time referencing where I’m from and talking about how that place makes me me. I love that about New York, and I love that the place I talk about is Cleveland. I like that I’m in a place that makes this experience a prominent component of my life. But it is also noticeable to me, at times, that I know another version of life: one where strangers are more known to each other – as true or false as that may actually be.
It’s an intricate dance between blending in and standing out. Each is appealing some of the time but looses its charm in excess, and like many things it can be difficult to sustain the balance.