The other day I had a conversation about what I miss about living in places that are not Universe City, and what it comes down to is that I miss feeling like unexpected things might happen. Even in Gone West, I felt like things need not be the same every day: I rode the train to work, or biked, and there is plenty of opportunity for the unexpected when you interact with strangers every day.
Here, where I drive my car to work and home again, I feel like all the little moments are gone. No kids do cute things on the crowded dalla-dalla on my way to work. No mentally ill homeless person shouts something crazy on the train. The kids may very well be doing cute things, but they are doing them shut up in their parents' SUVs, and the mentally ill homeless people are hanging out down by the river, outside the windows of my car. I can't hear them.
I miss that.
I miss people, I suppose. It's the extrovert in me.
I prefer to live in a world where when I walk to the market on a Friday I am surrounded by young boys who offer to run off and find maracuja (passion fruit) for me.
I prefer to live in a world where when my tire goes flat on the side of the road just outside Kigali, a whole crowd gathers to try to help me get the lock on the spare off and, when we are unsuccessful, two bicycle taxis load me on one and the flat tire on the other and we ride off to the Toyota dealership.
I prefer to live in a world where when I sit in a downtown park, someone will talk to me.
I prefer to live in a world where some guy gets on the train and preaches, or some kid gets on the bus and sings, and we all applaud together.
None of that ever happens here. We just get into our individual cars and go our individual ways, and so every day is so very much the same.