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Knowing it but not knowing it

I spent a few days in Las Vegas this last week, and then yesterday I arrived in New York. I was too tired and achey to do much yesterday but I am recovering. Even so, I don't plan to be particularly busy this week.

What has been so interesting is the contrast between Mary's home and Elaine's. Mary lives in a condo in Las Vegas. The condominium complexes are two stories high, surrounded by parking. The units are generous in size, and Mary's includes a washer and dryer and decent-sized kitchen plus dining area. Plus two nice-sized bathrooms. She can walk a short distance to a pool, hot tub, and exercise room, which is in the center of the development. If she wants to do something other than exercise or lay about or hang around home, she has to drive somewhere, because Vegas streets are not friendly for pedestrians. More, it takes a lot of trekking on a hard sidewalk to get anywhere remotely interesting, and by that I mean maybe a shopping center.

Elaine and Ed live in a tiny apartment in Manhattan. It is on the third floor, accessible by slippery steep stairs and narrow hallways. The apartment is light and airy in spite of its small size, which includes a living and kitchen area separated by an island, a bedroom, and a tiny bathroom where using the toilet can be a true challenge.  I think E&E and doing well so  far in making it livable. But the real life is down there. Down the two flights of stairs and out on the sidewalk, where one can find restaurants, laundries, toy stores, groceries, everything, not that far by feet. And of course subways are nearby and taxis are everywhere.

Essentially it's the dif between suburban (Mary) and urban (E&E). Of course I have been aware of this difference for years, but it was funny to me to experience it in this way. From the quiet of Mary's place, with its tidy lawns and carports, to the generalized noise of the city. Which, interestingly, seems in some ways quieter than I remember it. It doesn't sound like people are honking as much as they did when I lived here in 1998. Has something changed that way? I don't know.

I love that there is so much life right down there. I don't love that I have to make it down those stairs - and up again later - to get there. If my knees were a little happier about stairs I would not mind it much at all, however.

I'm taking it easy now, in any case. One more walk for the Floyd dog tonight, food for all of the animals, and then settle in. There are some beers in the fridge, which I plan to take care of right now. Well, one of them, anyway.

Here it is, 5:00 p.m. Ed and Elaine will depart in about an hour, if the flight is on time, for France. And I am settling in for my New York week. Forget that New York minute.


Judith Lautner
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January 2012


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