I left the house at about 9AM yesterday, headed for Target to pick up a prescription. When I got home twelve hours later, I’d been to Charlotte for lunch, a movie, and dinner at the soon-to-be-defunct Riverview Inn. I do things like that sometimes; Saturdays are more fun when you surprise yourself.
I know I have a tendency to overanalyze my relationships with cities but it’s generally easier and more satisfying than trying to figure out my relationships with other people. Charlotte’s metaphor in this scheme is, I suppose, that of the old friend who sometimes gets on your nerves and with whom you enjoy hanging out but probably wouldn’t want to spend all your time. I don’t have any particular desire ever to live there again–I’ve already tried it twice. I find Charlotte rather a bland and soulless place, the epitome of a Sun Belt boomtown, but it still feels comfortable and in many ways feels more like home than Winston-Salem ever really has. Even though I’ve lived here much longer than I ever lived in Charlotte (six and a half years…damn…), I’m always a little surprised to realize that I can still find my way around the back roads of Charlotte better and that everything about it is more familiar than my current city.
It may be because my history with Charlotte is centered around a more period in my life when I was younger and more adventurous and everything was newer and more exciting. Charlotte was the first place I ever lived on my own. There is definitely nostalgia involved. I don’t have a lot of youthful memories of Winston-Salem, though, so I associate it with being older and more settled. That has its own benefits but is not really all that high on the excitement scale.
It also may be due to the fact that most of my life really takes place in Greensboro now anyway. Winston-Salem is where I sleep and buy groceries, and that’s about it.
That’s not to say I don’t like it here. Winston-Salem is fine, really, and it works for me in several ways right now. My neighborhood is convenient (albeit not to work), I like my house (even though it’s way too big), and there are lots of good restaurants here. But I don’t have a big emotional relationship with the Twin City and I don’t imagine I’ll live out the rest of my my days or even the rest of the decade here.
I don’t imagine I’ll ever live in Charlotte again either. My second residence during 2005 and 2006 made me realize that whatever I’d liked about living there in my twenties didn’t translate well to my forties. We seem to get along better from a distance.