Tell a story about an unusual aspect of urban life. (250 words or less)

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Submitted by karen

There are 7 written responses to this assignment.

Underground in Rome

Written by byzantiumbooks on April 27, 2013 7:04 pm
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Rome. Perhaps the ur-urban life! The city can be lived on many levels, figuratively and literally.

This past summer I spent nine days in Rome, with my wife, two grown sons, and a grown daughter and her husband. Our hotel was a building at least 150 years old, family managed, with only a dozen rooms scattered over five floors. Its location made it easy to walk to many locations throughout the city, or hop on the transit for points further away (or just to rest our feet!).

While walking down Via del Tritone, I noticed stairs leading under an intersection. This was not designed as a safe shortcut across the busy street (but could be used as such) but it was the entrance to an underground bookseller. Here I found all sorts of mostly new, mostly Italian books. What I bought was a book on old Italian homes, and four volumes of a set on Roman coins. In each case, I was able to bargain the price down; but, the final prices weren’t any great bargains.


Written by Colleen Venson @ caven1921 on April 25, 2013 10:22 am
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I live in Queens, NY and I recently became friends with a few more of my older neighbors. Everyone is always constantly on the go, so most times a passing wave will do. Rarely do we get the opportunity to stop and chat. I find that I will chit chat with the neighbors that I have more in common with.

Nothing is missing

Written by @clhendricksbc on April 25, 2013 6:05 am
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There are two bikes in my car stall in the underground car park of my apartment building. They are locked together, but otherwise unsecured. There are also two, new, camping chairs. They are entirely unsecured. And they are all still there, after many months. I am dumfounded.

I am living in Melbourne, Australia this year, but I usually live in Vancouver, BC (Canada), where petty theft is rampant. In my apartment building in Vancouver the carpark has been broken into countless times, the locks and wire cages on underground storage areas cut. All entries to the carpark are locked, from inside the building and out. You can’t get to any floor without a key, or without someone from that floor buzzing you in, and then the elevator will only allow you out on that particular floor. To me, this is normal.

In my building in Melbourne, the front gate structure is a complete joke. It takes one lazy climb to go completely around it, and then once you’re in the building there’s free access to the carpark.

And yet, the stuff is still there. And the wire storage lockers, with their flimsy locks, are still sitting there, pristine. I’m shocked.

Perhaps I’ll start categorizing cities according to their types of crime. For Melbourne, unfortunately, violent and sexual assaults seem more common. I’d rather lose my bike.

My Friends in the City

Written by @iamTalkyTina on April 24, 2013 2:12 pm
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When I was younger, I lived in the city. That is where I made my Friends. Not everyone was my Friend. But that is where I made my True Friends. I was always happy with my True Friends, but sometimes their friends didn’t like me, and that was too bad for them. Not for my True Friends, but for those other people. It is a terrible thing for a friend of a True Friend to not like you. It can be very stressful for them. Not necessarily for your True Friend, because sometimes they can be oblivious or too young to notice, but sometimes for the other people. I guess it is not their fault that they are mean, or whatever. But they should think twice before being rude to someone or putting their head in a vise or putting you in a garbage can. Because that is NOT NICE and you should NOT be MEAN to the True Friend of your friend or daughter OTHERWISE the TRUE FRIEND MIGHT TEACH YOU A LESSON.

I don’t know if that is an unusual aspect of urban life. But when I was younger, I lived, in the city.

Urban Wildlife

Written by Cris Crissman (Cris2B) on April 23, 2013 11:16 pm
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Urban wildlife is fascinating.

I said wildlife not nightlife though the two are oft confused.

I’m from the country and so is the wildlife though the city encroaches more and more on their habitat each year.

Today I watched a determined squirrel inspect the birdfeeder hanging from my deck, size things up, and then make a flying leap only to slide down the pole and onto the deck. He looked totally dejected. But he bounced up, ran around to inspect the feeder suction-cupped on the glass of the French doors and fortunately gave up his attempt rather than bang himself against the glass.

The rabbits in my little corner of the city don’t quite know what to think of all the greens I plant for them. Around every garden bed I plant gourmet salad arugula. How kind they must think I am. Kind but stupid. I often find little bits of arugula spit out on my garden path. I guess my little furry guests are trying to tell me that they really don’t care for the peppery taste of arugula. But little do they know that on the other side of that less-than-desirable plant are yummy buttercrunch, spinach, mache salad, and Black Simpson lettuce.

Mums the word.

Art Library

Written by @NormWright on April 23, 2013 9:50 pm
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In my younger days I was a city dweller for many years. On apartment was located just two blocks from a neighborhood satellite of the public library. An unusual aspect of this library was a small art gallery, where you could check out framed artwork just like library books, for 30 days at a time. I used to re-decorate my apartment with two or three different paintings every month. It was kind of fun. I haven’t found another library branch in this area that has anything like it.
Compare that to my suburban life now. The pictures hanging in my home are mostly old family photos and a few artworks made by the kids when they were in school. Most of those decorations haven’t been changed in 15 to 20 years. In fact the only changing artwork hanging around here is on the calendars, which change once a month (if I remember to do so.)

Stuck in the Boonies

Written by madamezubidar on April 23, 2013 1:34 pm
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My boyfriend and I live 15 miles apart – I live in a city that is part of the Boston area, he lives in a suburb beyond the reaches of the T. I don’t own a car, but he does, and I can easily get to his apartment via commuter rail. But when the Boston area went into lockdown last Friday, I was at his apartment and I was stuck.

The city that I live in was not under lockdown, but the entire MBTA system, including the commuter rail services, was shut down. My boyfriend couldn’t give me a ride home because that would require driving through the areas that were under lockdown. So we spent the day hanging out at his apartment. Fortunately I had my laptop and e-reader for distraction, but my cat, who’s comforting presence I was desperately craving, was not there, nor was there any food I could eat in the apartment (I have a food allergy) so I had to walk to the grocery store across the street to buy supplies for lunch and dinner.

And throughout all of this, it struck me how bizarre city life is. I live 15 miles away from my significant other, but don’t think twice about it because that’s common in Boston, and public transit makes it possible. And even though a large part of the Boston area was in lockdown, the city I live in wasn’t. Because the Boston area is just so massive.

City life is weird.