Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why Philly?

As my wife and I have contemplated what our futures hold -- now that we're seeking ravenously after full-time employment -- we've had to figure out our priorities. And it's emerged that one of the top priorities is trying to stay in Philly. But why?

Part of it might be inertia: It's expensive and energy-consuming to move. But part of it is that we've become fond of the city. And I don't always understand that: In some ways, the two years we've spent here have been the roughest, hairiest, least-fun years of my adult life. We want to stick it out.

Again, why?

Maybe because -- despite the challenges -- there's a lot to love. I like Philly. I like Cafe Lutecia and Almaz Ethiopian restaurant and the art museum and the orchestra and Rittenhouse Square and Jafar Barron and the Monday jazz jam with Orrin Evans and Cafe L'Aube and Grace Tavern and Shakespeare in Clark Park and Skorpion and Makael and Ekta and Gusto and Paolo's and the Phillies and Andrew's Video Vault and the silly debates over the New Black Panthers and the amateur boxing gyms with "Rocky" posters and Malcolm X Park and Joseph Fox Bookshop and the library and Bill Conlin and vending cart food and not needing a car and the BoltBus and being near New York without having to pay New York prices and having my son grow up some place that isn't 90 or 95 percent white and PhillyGrrl and Brendan Skwire and the Roots and all the farmer's markets and Stu Bykofsky (but not John Yoo) and Mayor Nutter's cute way of acting angry when he knows that's what the public wants and West Philly and South Philly and Fairmount Park and the Schuykill River trail and the skyline -- oh that gorgeous skyline.

And even the Piazza. A little bit. But not the Eagles. I hate the Eagles.

Those are just my reasons. My wife could and would add a few more, I know. But those are the things I know after two quick-but-traumatic years. And I know I've only scratched the surface of what this town holds, and what it can show me. It's not "home" the way that Lawrence, Kansas used to be for me -- but I had eight years to make Lawrence my home.

I don't know if I'll have that much time here. But I kind of hope so. We'll see.

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