City shock

If I have to spend a lot of time in the suburbs for work or whatever, I sometimes get "city shock" when I go back home, especially if I have to take the "El" (what Chicagoans call the elevated train--there are trains that are just elevated and others that become subways, but for some reason, we call all of them "the El").

This is how city shock can occur: if I'm in a suburb that is far away from the city, where people mainly drive, and the streets can be easily navigated. If I spend some time driving in the 'burbs and then come back to the city, I have to weave through other cars, some that don't care about the rules of the road or with drivers that may not have licenses. Also, I may have to put on the brakes for various reasons, including guys pushing grocery carts in the streets or doors suddenly opening up, or folks sauntering against the light.

Another difference is customer service: especially in the 'burbs that are farther away from the city, the workers are nicer and simply do their job: there's not much emotional baggage because they don't have to wade through dank neighborhoods or stand in a crowded bus to get to work on time.

Also, the boony 'burbs are so clean and orderly, there really isn't much externally that can stress people out. All they have to do is wait for the traffic to move, and if they want to stop somewhere, they can just go into a number of strip malls, which are well-maintained.

Lately I've been spending a lot more time in the city, so there hasn't been much shock. But then I start to become nitpicky about stuff I see and hear. When I'm in the 'burbs, there's just a general wonderment about how people can live with such organization and not many surprises. But in the city, there's so much more to look at, the only way to process it is to attempt categorization.

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