July 20, 2007
I wonder sometimes what the difference is between living in Fairhope and living in Hoboken -- besides the obvious one of looking across the river at the Empire State Building and looking across the bay and barely being able to discern anything like a skyline.
This reminds me of the time I showed Martin Platt, then Director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, around Fairhope. His first reaction -- and this was in 1990 -- "This town has a case of the cutes," but he later said Fairhope would be livable "If only that were Toronto on the other side of that bay."
But I digress. In Hoboken, it's better than having Toronto across the nearby water. You have the city that never sleeps, the home of heart of the arts and commerce of America, the crown jewel of our country. (Okay, there are some drawbacks to NYC; there are problems. But give me a little leeway here. It's more interesting than Mobile.)
I am boning up on Hoboken. I'm checking out its history on the web. I'm reading the Hoboken blogs. Yesterday I found a very interesting post on a solid blog called Philly2Hoboken that described the ordeal of living through the steam pipe break and trying to get home to Hoboken. It brought it back to me what living in the city is like -- the uncertainty, the uneasiness in crisis, and the general atmosphere when you and your neighbors are drawn together in a way that nobody likes. I lived in New York in the 1960's and 70's and the worst situation we had to deal with was a blackout or two. Who knows what will be next, or how bad it will be?
The writer of Philly2Hoboken wove his way by cab to the ferry, trying to get over the river in the most expedient way possible. His commute is usually little more than ten minutes; on this day it was over two hours. But after enduring the inefficiency of waiting in long lines, looking for a ticket machine that didn't exist, he enjoyed the cool breezes on the ferry, and, although it docked at a place a long way from where he lived, he was able to get a bus to his home with no trouble.
A bus to his home! We don't have things like that in Fairhope or even Mobile. I can shed my car before I leave. I can get a train into and out of the city most days (and have the ferry option in certain emergencies or just when I feel like it).
Reading his blogpost, I could feel his relief at getting home to Hoboken. I can almost feel how I'm going to feel in the same situation.