Always into something
Posted August 10, 2008 2:52 am (about 4207 days ago)Part of the appeal of place such as The Bay Area is that it always seems that something is happening. Yet mostly due to the high cost of property, I’m always thinking of possible places to relocate. While I’m hardly saying anything new, one thing that’s going to attract young professionals (ugh, I don't like the term, but I guess at this point in my career I fall in this category) such as myself is the feeling that things are happening, or could happen. Granted, the best things tend to come from the grassroots level, yet there are certain attitudes, or even government policies that encourage this type of initiative. Whether it’s more liberal views towards personal expression or funding for arts, mental stimulation is key to quality of life; at least for me.
So, the other day I heard that one of my favorite DJs, DJ Phatrick, was playing at a special event at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, which incidentally, is one of my favorite museums. Among other things at this event were martial arts demonstrations, including the drunken fist style popularized by Jackie Chan. The place was packed and Phatrick was spinning some great tunes, throwing in some timely scratches and doubles. As I left, I checked out the organic garden that has been planted in front of San Francisco’s city hall. The idea is to encourage sustainable living. Although it’s been up since last month, I rarely make it that side of the Bay so I’m a little late. Besides, I was out of town the past six weeks! Making my way back to the BART train station I ran smack into a protest highlighting the oppression of Tibet by the Chinese government. In spite of the cold, dreary weather marchers continued their ongoing protest that dates back who knows how long. It definitely made an impression on me, although I didn’t join the march as I had to get back home. Nonetheless, it sparked my interest in doing even more research on the issue and as an educator you know I’ll help spread the word! Of course I know the basic issues, but seeing people who looked like me and my family, up close and personal, made it more real.
But all of this brings me back to my original point of what makes areas attractive. A simple trip to see someone DJing exposed me to political debate in Asia, a real life symbol of sustainable living, plus world class art and great music. I spent less than $15 on the whole trip. Sometimes I go to towns where it feels like the most exciting thing is watch paint dry. I exaggerate of course, but heading home, I just felt like I was participating in history and better connected to the larger world. I haven’t even been back a week and among the things I’ve had a chance to experience are Taiwanese hot pot, Chicago Steppin’, a picnic on the waterfront, a street fair, plus buying groceries at a Jamaican grocery store and a Vietnamese grocery store. None of this was more than 20 minutes from my house. I know I’ve talked recently about moving back to a smaller, slower-paced area, but for now, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate living in The Bay. Like other cities I enjoy, such as Chicago, it’s crowded in many places, dirty, and noisy, yet it’s happening! Ironically, being out here the past five years has made me more open to the idea of living in places like southern Illinois, a place that’s definitely more quite and reserved, yet one I've visited more than thirty times and one where I've even held a job. A key thing is that I have tangible examples of what’s possible. It’s one thing to see it on TV and another to live it. Don’t get me wrong, I was part of some amazing things while I lived in places like Detroit, but I couldn’t properly contextualize it until I moved back to California. As time’s passed, I’ve grown to appreciate different places more equally, but I have to admit that I’ve gotten spoiled by so much access to a variety of activities. Sometimes you don’t want to have to work so hard to feel connected to the rest of the world.