Although I knew this all along, my friend Claudia defines herself as a life long resident of suburbia. The profoundness of this did not strike me until I read the statement on the back cover of her latest collection of poems. How could I have been so blind as to the meaning of this? The majority of Claudia’s art, both written and often her visual art as well, are somehow intertwined with suburban living.
On the other hand, I have pretty much always been a city dweller. Maybe that is why Claudia’s world as a suburbanite was not apparent to me. I have also realized that not only do the landscapes of suburban, city, and rural residents differ but the way in which people behave also vary greatly. I can think of countless examples of behavioral differences but will spare the readers such details and bring up one that very recently came to my attention.
Last week I received a book from my friend Nellie. The book is titled A Firefighter’s Journal: Thirty-Seven Years on the Firegrounds and in the Firehouses of Philadelphia. My father was a Philadelphia Fireman. One of the things that the author, Robert John Marchisello talks about is how, as a child, he recalls making the sign of the cross whenever he heard a fire siren. It occurred to me, after reading this, that I, too, often find myself making the sign of the cross when I see an emergency vehicle. I never thought why I did this or even thought much about it at all until reading this book. It occurred to me that this is not only a behavior of city people, but a very specific sub-set of city people: Roman Catholics. Possibly only Roman Catholics of Italian descent (that I will need to check).
What types of things and behaviors characterize where you live?