COUNTRY VERSUS CITY LIFE – ELLIN CURLEY

I lived in an apartment in Manhattan for over 40 years. I’ve lived in the woods in Connecticut now for over 25 years. I think I’m something of an expert on both life styles. It’s a common misconception that getting around is easier in a city than in the country or suburbs. I disagree. Having lived with both transportation options, I’ll take my car and the country any time.

In the city there are often many things that are within walking distance. A small supermarket, a pharmacy, a dry cleaners, some restaurants and stores, etc. For those destinations, it couldn’t be more convenient (unless you count having to be outside in inclement weather as more than mildly inconvenient). But you can’t live your entire life within a ten block radius of your apartment or house. You always need to go downtown or outside your residential area. That’s where you get into trouble.

You have to walk to bus stops or subway stops, in all kinds of weather. Then wait for the next bus or train, when it decides to come for you. Delays are inevitable. After you get off the bus or train, you’ll have to walk some more to get to your final destination. Add kids, strollers — and the logistics become mind-boggling. Remember, you have to do it again going back.

You could grab a taxi. On television, snap your fingers and there’s a cab. In real life, you have to find one. And then sit in traffic. There’s always traffic in New York. The taxi may be easier but it can actually be slower. It’s also less predictable and definitely more expensive.

You can never be sure, in a city like New York, how long it will take you to get somewhere. You’re constantly at the mercy of traffic, trains, buses, — all factors outside your control. My ex and I would have endless discussions about the best way to get to the theater or to a downtown restaurant on time. Going anywhere in the city was stressful. I dreaded having to take my kids anywhere. I dreaded going out when it was very hot, very cold, or very wet. Weather is a big thing for me. I was ALWAYS rushing and always worried I’d be late.

In the country or suburbs, you get in your car and go! Mine is in my garage so I don’t even have to go outside. You always know how long it will take to get where you’re going. If you don’t, you can always look it up on Map Quest. There’s rarely traffic and normally plenty of parking everywhere. You don’t have to battle the elements for more than a few yards. You may technically be farther away from the necessities of life, but from where I live — in the middle of nowhere — I can get to anything I might need or want. Movies, dinner, theater, 15-20 minutes door-to-door. You can’t go anywhere on public transportation in a city in less time than that!

When I drive, I’m in control of my schedule. I’m traveling in style and comfort. I’m in my car, listening to my Broadway Channel on Sirius Radio and singing along at the top of my lungs. I’m looking out the window at trees and grass and maybe a reservoir. The view makes me happy no matter the season. Snow is beautiful if you don’t have to shovel it. There’s nothing like watching the leaves come out on the trees in spring, or seeing them turn red, orange and yellow in the fall. Or watching my dogs running around and playing at any time of year.

For me it’s a no-brainer. Me in my car, singing and watching the beautiful scenery? That’s the winner. No stress, no worries, no environmental issues. I’ll take that scenario over a crowded subway any day. Even if it means I can’t walk to the local market, restaurant, or store. I can walk down my tree-lined road to commune with nature or get some exercise.

I always thought I was a city girl at heart. I grew up as an ethnocentric, arrogant New Yorker. Now, I’ve seen the light – and the trees. Especially the trees!

11 thoughts on “COUNTRY VERSUS CITY LIFE – ELLIN CURLEY

    • I sometimes look at apartment buildings in the city and marvel at the fact that I lived in one for so long. I can’t believe I lived in a large cubicle, surrounded on all sides by other cubicles. Cubicles to the right of me! Cubicles to the left of me! Cubicles on top of me and below me! How did I survive? I remember a year of bathroom leaking and repairs because my upstair’s neighbor’s shower sprung a leak. I have enough problems of my own thank you!

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  1. We traded suburban life for the country nearly 15 years ago. A brave step for me as I don’t drive. Ifind living in the country and enjoying occasional trips to town less stressful. I know if I still lived in the suburbs the chances of getting out for a country drive would be rare but this way I can enjoy the scenery any time I have an errand to do.

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  2. Ellin, just for you, here’s Mr. Tony Bennett and “Country Girl”. (what a lovely ballad…for a lovely lady)

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  3. Great post … has me remembering the story of the Country Mouse and City Mouse! I like to visit the city but I’m a country girl. Where I live in Ouray County, Colorado we only have 1 stoplight.

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    • My town only has one stop light too! We are zoned totally residential. There is a post office, library, town hall, small deli and several farms that sell various things to the public. Two sell more than just produce and locally baked goods. You can buy honeys and jams and salad dressings, etc., plants and baskets, apple cider, eggs and milk, candies and other miscellaneous items like candles. They have that country store vibe. But you have to go to a real market in an adjoining town to get real groceries.

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