Tuesday, September 13, 2011
City Girl? -personal essay
Growing up in Albuquerque, I used to complain about the lack of things to do in my free time. I was convinced that this would be the only small city I would ever live in, until I decided to move to Las Vegas, New Mexico for college. Making the adjustment to an even smaller town has been quite the culture shock, especially while traveling back and forth to Albuquerque on weekends. After traveling back and forth, I have realized how much I have adjusted the way I act and interact with others differently from Albuquerque to Las Vegas.
Albuquerque is a growing city, striving to meet “big city” standards. The city is mainly broken up between the North, South, East and West side. Each part of town looks completely different in appearance, distinguishing the different types of people that live there. The West side, where I grew up is the newer, more expanding part of town.
I hated the fact that there was never anything to do in the city besides staying distracted from your goals, if you allowed yourself to. Living in this diverse city gave room for various types of people and ways of life. People are able to relate to one another and live up to the popular fads that make their way around. Staying away from big egos and negativity was a simple thing for me to do by keeping to myself. Being lazy on the other hand, was hard to avoid. I eventually ended up despising attending school because it was so pathetically simple to pass, that people often cultivate the “ I do not have a care in the world” outlook. Everything seemed so simple living in Albuquerque. School was simple, getting a job was simple, spending money and wasting gas driving around town became second nature.
The only cares I had in Albuquerque were my family, friends and having a good time with the small opportunity that presented itself. I stuck close to my family and friends due to the fact that people were so different, and sometimes unapproachable, all around the city. Even though most people, myself included, consider Albuquerque to be a smaller city, it did not have typical “small town” ways. People are not polite to strangers, and are unwilling to help others out in any way that did not benefit themselves. You learn to fend for yourself growing up in this type of environment. I found myself slowly becoming cold and antisocial due to society’s behaviors and ways. Many people here have no sense of being polite.
For example, if you are stuck in six o’clock rush hour traffic, be prepared to get flipped off, cut off and honked at. People will cut you off before letting you in front of them in a merging lane, while possibly adding a hand gesture with it. I will admit, I have become one of these people that yell, “what the hell are you doing!” at the car in front of me for no reason. I decide to speed up and not let a slow driver get in front of me. I figure why be nice, when no one else returns the favor ever.
When I was considering moving to Las Vegas for college, I was very skeptical, being that I was not very fond of small towns as it is. As soon as I moved here, I soon realized the many advantages and disadvantages of a small town life. Shockingly, people were so willing to lend a helping hand if you seem to be in trouble, or even just the quick friendly wave gesture while driving through a neighborhood felt so welcoming. The locals can easily spot the people that are not from around here, and are quick to help out if needed. Las Vegas seemed to be one big community that does not mind uniting.
There isn’t really such thing as traffic in Las Vegas, which I find to be my favorite thing about living here. There is no rush to get places so road rage isn’t a problem. I have realized that I learned to be curious to people and not get angry while driving. Learning that people aren’t actually out to get you here has made me change my attitude and the way I even converse with others. It wasn’t necessary to answer rudely, or speak with an attitude anymore. In a short time, I saw myself becoming more open and willing to learn the small town ways. Being around all of the new people and surroundings made me tone down my attitude, and overall outlook on the way one presents them self when it is not necessary to keep a constant guard up.
When traveling back and forth from Albuquerque to Las Vegas, I noticed the way I learned to adjust my attitude and habits while in each city. While visiting Albuquerque now, I unknowingly move back to my guarded, almost spoiled way of life. I quickly remember that people do not care about anything, and neither should I. My road rage, yelling and all around demeanor reverts right back to normal.
As soon as I get back to Las Vegas, I calm down and start to care about my school work and future, while there are less distractions around me. Opening up and trying to meet new people is an everyday thing, as well as the feeling of comfort knowing that everyone else here is mainly in the same boat as I am. There is no need to be guarded in Las Vegas. While Albuquerque will always be home to me, I quickly see myself transitioning from a “city girl” to the simple kind of small town life, and that’s alright for me.