La alma de la ciudad | The soul of the city

How is it you can know a place for a long time, know its personality, its idiosyncrasies, and yet after much time still not know whether you love or like it? How is it that a city you barely know can strike a chord with you immediately, and color your perspective with that initial love, even as its vices become evident to you?

What makes us decide to bear or empathize with the pain of one while rejecting another?

Perhaps this is an example of how cities are like people. Sometimes you connect, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you’ll fight for them, sometimes you won’t. It has nothing to do with fairness or an equal exchange of support between the two of you, either. People are known to fall in love with their abusers, after all, or vice versa, take advantage of those who have loved them dearly.

Does an American suburb coddle too much, and lull people to stay out of convenience rather than love? Yes.

Is there evidence that we love our dirty, gritty, soulful cities who ignore or even scorn their poor, while their privileged are often drunken, sheltered, and spoiled? Possibly.

I am not blind to the wrongs that a city has committed. Perhaps I’m being the archetype of the naive sweetheart who still thinks she can change the one she loves, or, more likely, gives greater weight to the goodness she has experienced than the evil she has heard of or witnessed.

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