February 17, 2005

M(i|a)croscopic

This blog's been neglected, so I think I'll post some musings from the past few weeks.

Having recently returned to the city from a small country town, the difference amazes me. I've never lived in the country before in my life and it was a totally new experience.

Everyone's friendly, people get to know you quickly, yet for some reason that tends to make me uncomfortable and vaguely paranoid. There is a sense of security in the anonymity of the city that I was hitherto unaware of. And yet, out there, the atmosphere is more relaxed. World events push at the same rate, but somehow the country absorbs them more slowly. The days do not rush, they meander.

But the biggest difference is the people. In the city, a business suit and a laptop bag are marks of status, of acceptibility, There, I felt self-conscious walking down the street with my mp3 player and mobile phone. Here, people hurry, honed in on their targets, dodging and ducking through the obstacle course that is the city pavements. There, they stroll along, pausing to have a chat or see what takes their eye, and amicably give way to each other. Here, a university degree is how you get a decent career. There, leaving school at Year 10 and helping your father work the farm is the sign of a good future.

In this day and age, what makes the difference? A country town is no less connected than the city, news reaches there as quickly as it does here, so wherein lies the vastly separated mindset? I think it's because it's always been like that, and now it's self-perpetuating. People go to the city to be connected, to be on the cutting edge, at the centre of things. People go to the country to slow down, to get back to the land, to enjoy a sense of community.

Out there, the world is at once very big and very small - and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

M.