As I sat in the coffee shop this morning, gazing absently out the window at the raindrops falling on the patio, I was trying not to overhear the pretentious pseudointellectual conversation of the young couple across the room from me. They were comparing life in various big cities — Boston, L.A., New York.
Somehow they decided that San Franciscans don't know how bad they have it, because in other places you can get around town without a car. This is apparently one of the qualities required for a city to be considered "great."
As you can tell, I wasn't trying hard enough not to overhear. They weren't the only other people in the room, just the only ones talking loudly enough for their voices to carry and penetrate and stick to the inside of my brain. I mean, I was thinking some pretty deep thoughts myself. I was wondering what I was going to watch on TV at 9:00 pm tonight.
Then I heard the guy pronounce the words "soulless suburbs." For a fraction of a second (a googolth of a second, to be precise), I nodded (in my mind; I didn't actually move my head) in agreement, or at least comprehension. Yeah, sez I, soulless suburbs. That's what I moved out into the country to get away from, right?
Well, no, not exactly. I can't call the people I shared my life in the city with anything like "soulless." There were interesting stories behind every door, and everyone there had at least as much of a soul as I did. There's a whole world of complex, interconnected lives, and each individual has something to add to the fabric and texture of humanity. Soulless, indeed!