“Well, what did you do last night?” I asked him.
“Stayed home and watched TV.”
“And like 85 percent of America, so did we,” I said. “The other 15 percent were on Facebook. You want to know the difference between watching TV at our house and watching TV in your apartment?”
“Thirty-five hundred dollars a month, plus utilities. If you were going to Broadway musicals every night, and eating at the hottest restaurants and then nightclubbing with B-list celebrities, I could see living in Manhattan. But if you’re staying home most nights watching TV, you could do that anywhere. Sure, you make Manhattan money, but you’ll spend more than you make.
“On my way to work in Manhattan,” I continued, “I would walk past shops that sold $10,000 watches, shops that sold $600 shoes, shops that sold $20,000 dresses. What do we do out here? I don’t know, but I sure don’t need a $600 pair of shoes to do it in.”
“Don’t you miss anything about the city?” Rob asked.
“Plenty. I miss the smell of slightly rotten garbage in the morning, I miss the sound of jackhammers, I miss alternate-side-of-the-street parking, I miss gum-paved sidewalks, I miss panhandlers, I miss dog walkers, I miss spending 20 minutes trying to get a taxi in the rain.” I think Rob had hung up when I got to “parking.”
Since we escaped from the big city, I would love to say I’ve discovered that the most beautiful things in the world are the wildflowers in the spring, the sight of tiny, spotted fawns crossing our lawn and the smell of freshly mowed grass. But they are not. The most beautiful thing in the world is hearing that they’re declaring tomorrow another “Gridlock Alert Day” in the city. There’s just something about the mental picture a junior exec sitting in a new $88,000 Mercedes going absolutely nowhere that never fails to cheer me up.
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life,” “Baby’s First Tattoo” and “Now in Paperback.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.