Living in Hartford, for me, demands an impossible combination of plugging my ears while yelling "LA LA LA LA I CANT HEAR YOU", and a bloodhound's nose, or eagle eye, or whatever animal cliche you want, for fun.
A friend in New York City recently sent me a link to his flickr feed. I browsed through it and now I have pangs in my chest. I had almost forgotten how much I thrive in a place like that. I told him,
"New York is teeming with ... something. Something good and bad at the same time. But the important part is that its cup overfloweth."
Hartford's cup is half empty. Or maybe I'm just a pessimist. And I say this while working at a place where I can walk out of my office into an art gallery, and see this.
When I think about New York City, or Boston, I need to cover my ears and pretend I can't hear about how much better they are. The very act of "making a go" of Hartford reminds you that it ISN'T either of those places, no matter how many cool things you unearth. That's because you have to unearth them in the first place. There are no serendipitous encounters on the subway in Hartford, no street musicians on my way to work, no Ivy Leaguers running around in a clean little bubble of privilege (well, no current ivy leaguers), no hubs of activity, ... you get the picture. You have to dig, and digging is tiring and messy.
I've always liked ruins, and deterioration, and things past their prime. But I never realized how much work it took to live in such a place.
I learned earlier at work that Hartford is a skateboarding mecca of sorts. Do you want to know why? Yes, you do. It's because we have so many abandoned buildings and lots that skaters can have full run of the place without worrying about police, or irritated neighbors, or, say, pedestrians. If that isn't the vines growing up in the cracks of an ancient ruin, then I don't know what is.
Hopefully, there will be more vines soon. Now I'm picturing Hartford as an old abandoned house I stumbled across in southern France, a house completely overtaken with vines. A wave of vines had pushed open the shutters, spilling light and life into the upstairs bedroom. vines cracked the floor, the staircases, and I wasn't sure how long the structure itself would stand. Maybe soon there will be only vines thriving on top of a pile of rubble.
...I have more than just a few doubts on that last bit, but hope is good, isn't it?
(side note: I'm fully aware that I titled this post with the name of a Tom Jones song. Will not be the last time, you lucky dogs you)