Writing this on 7/23/15 at 8:41AM
I had a great night 7/22 with David and all of his ADVer buddies here in NYC. I suppose when you get 6-7 guys that all do massive motorcycle trips together and have food and booze involved, it’s always going to be a fun night.
One of the guys, George, took it upon himself to help me immensely with the Shadow. We went downstairs with a few tools and he looked over my wiring. The wires that had been soldered in Wawa were starting to look quite ugly again, and he decided it’d be best to just bypass the entire plastic connector and just solder up the three yellow wires directly.
After a good evening of banter, George sent me an address to drop the bike off at the following morning (as he’d be off at work), before I left for Philadelphia.
With the battery charged the following morning I did not have too much trouble, mechanically at least, getting to George’s garage. I did manage to get another ticket, however. Apparently you can’t turn right on red in NYC. The cop wrote me up and told me to plead not guilty and I wouldn’t have to pay for it. Something to the effect of forgiving me on it because I’ve got a Florida drivers licenese. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, I got the bike to George’s, hid the key, and took the subway to Penn Station in NYC to take an amtrak train down to Philadelphia.
I wandered around the city for a good while, retracing my steps from the last time I was here. Had a beer at the bar. Tried visiting an old friend. Shed some baggage.
I did what I had to do in Philly and caught the train back to NYC and the subway back to David’s. David and his wife Francine had company over upstairs and I was treated to some great tacos.
I’ve had an interesting perspective shift regarding mass transit. I’ve taken more subways over the last two weeks than I have in the prior decade. As part of my small side quest to understand why people would choose to live in huge cities, I can certainly see how a properly working subway system can be a beautiful thing. I can see how owning a car would be a huge inconvenience. There’s nowhere to park it, and trying to get around in a car provides an incredibly marginal time savings given the horrendous traffic and pervasive one way streets.
Yes, I can see how living in a city would make one an avid walker and mass transit user.
My feet have blisters from how much walking I’ve been doing.
And I’m sure someday I’ll live in a place like New York. I remember joking with Frederique back in Montreal that maybe someday 15 years from now I’ll take out a lease on an apartment for a year in Montreal and she’ll have a good roommate. I hope to move often during my life.
All that said, however, I’m not sure I’d ever choose to permanently settle in a large city unless circumstances (ie job) forced it upon me.
I’d much rather live somewhere that it is faster to ride my motorcycle the three blocks to the grocery store than it is to walk there because traffic and parking aren’t an issue.
But above all else, really, I think the biggest reason I wouldn’t want to live in a city is the cost of living. In Philadelphia, for example, you’d be subject to Federal, State, and City income taxes. Rent in any major city is absorbitant. There’s usually also a severe sales tax. The list goes on.
I don’t mind living somewhere small. The notion of cramming myself and my life into a room the size of a closet is quite alright with me.
It’s paying $2000 a month for that closet that bothers me.
Yes, a city provides myriad services to its inhabitants that are totally unavailable in more dispersed living areas. Yes, everything is easier to walk to.
But even taking all the extra that a city can provide, cumulatively… I don’t see how the additional expense is justified.
I’d much rather have a situation like the one I am in now. If I want to walk around a city and be somewhere that I’d have three museums within walking distance of each other, I can just visit.
In the words of David, “It’s about what you want as your default background.”
Yes, a city is neat. That default background, however, is not worth the additional cubicle time it would take to pay the additional rent.
Now that I’m done with that rant…
My plan now is to write another rant, take the subway to George’s, get the bike back to David’s, pack up, and hit the road towards Virginia.