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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back to the City

All I need now is a gym membership and season tickets to the community theater!

When I left the city 10 years ago, I hoped I'd never come back.  People in real cities would laugh that I call a town the size of Tyler a city, but for a country boy like me, it'll do for a city till somebody builds a real one in East Texas. 

I heard an urban planner once lament that East Texas had the carrying capacity to support a real city, but for some reason, one wouldn't grow here. We have the most densely populated rural areas in the entire state.  A little decent urban planning and we could have a serious metropolis and the political power in the state house to get the goodies that Dallas, San Antonio and Houston help themselves to each legislative session (we only let our legislature meet every couple of years for a few months - keeps them and us out of trouble). 

There's a reason we don't have a mighty metropolis in the middle of East Texas.  WE DON'T WANT ONE!
We all moved over here to get away from the cities.  My Dad always said he planned to retire as soon as possible and move to East Texas and get 40 acres, a one-eyed mule and a Georgia stock (some sort of plow). it was his idea of heaven.  My stepmother, a confirmed city girl, shot him dead before he got the chance.

Ever since I worked at summer camp over at Athens in my college years, I've wanted to move to East Texas, for pretty much the same reasons Dad did - the lakes everywhere, the vast forests and farmlands and some of the oddest samples of homo sapiens you'll ever meet. East Texas was my kind of place.
For the past decade, I got to live my dream of living on the lake where the stars are so bright you feel like you could reach out and touch them - the quiet in the evening so thick you could grasp handfuls of it and stuff it in your pocket.

I suppose that's what I miss most. We've moved back to town now (thank you everyone who had a part in this recession) and here in town, you can't see the stars.  Maybe a few stray planets and the moon, but no real stars. It's never really dark here. The noise never stops. Haven't heard a Chuckwill's Widow singing in the night for weeks now.

I lived in "the city" for a year back in 1999-2000. Everything was convenient. You could get to any store in 10 minutes. Restaurants, movies, the theater could all be found just down the street. There is always something to do, but strangely, you never have enough time to do it unless you fight for it.
I can already feel the pressure building; the city pulling at me. "Now that you're close by, you can help.......?"  Everything's convenient, but all this time you save for some reason doesn't leave a lot of time for goofing off. I want to goof off a little. 

The good news is that I think I've found a job. It's close by so if they need me for an emergency, I can run right over and....................

I feel the city's talons closing around my throat.  Is that irrational? I know there's a reason I'm here.  God systematically took away all my options for staying at the lake till I was forced to move back to town. He's done that before and it always works out. He has his reasons, but I do get to complain to Him a little, don't I.
And I don't want to hear lists of advantages of living in town.  I just want to sulk for a while. I'm like Winnie the Pooh, singing my complaining song.  Of course, if I get the new job, maybe I'll be able to buy back my banjo (or get another one).  There is that.

But for now, just leave me alone and let me sulk till I get over it.

Tom King - Tyler, TX (I always thought "Flint, TX" sounded more authentically Texan)

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