Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Utah

The Boy and I have been home for a few days now, and I have had plenty of time to rest from our most awesome vacation in Utah.  Our days and nights were full of visiting friends and family, eating, playing, driving, going to the zoo, swimming, napping, Wii-ing, and making new friends.  The two weeks we were there wasn't enough to see everyone and do everything, but we still had a great time.

While it is nice to be home in NYC, there are many things that I will miss in Salt Lake.  I loved watching my son become friends with his cousins.  Everyday he would beg for us to return to my sister's house, so he could run outside with her kids.  He quickly learned how cool it is to have a giant yard to play in and friends to share it with.  He also made friends with the children of my friends.  I just sat back and watch them interact, amazed that the bonds of friendship have encompassed the next generation, and I envisioned the many camping trips and vacations spent together in the future when these same children will be the ones causing the trouble and I would have to be the adult.

Del Taco.  Certainly New York is known for its restaurants, but I am not a fan of paying large sums of money for a meal.  A late night run for some nachos and tacos for under ten dollars makes for a very happy Archie.  Another thing that made me very happy was the complete lack of humidity.  The Summer sun in Utah is relentless, but the lack of humidity keeps everyone dry and smelling nice.  Don't forget about the Summer nights when the sun disappears and the cool breezes provide the perfect environment for evening conversations about life, love, and nachos.

However, there were some experiences in Utah I would prefer to forget.  Why is everyone in such a hurry on the freeway?  The roads are huge, and the lanes are wide, but most drivers still felt it was important to swerve in and out of traffic while speeding to get to their destination.  I know that a number of years ago I was one of those drivers, but now I pause and wonder what I was thinking.  What was so important that I was willing to risk the safety of everyone around me, so that I would not be late?  I can't remember, but I do know that after a couple of years enduring New York traffic, I am happy traveling at any speed over 30 mph.

Downtown Salt Lake is ugly.  I know that many were concerned about revenue and property values around the decaying malls, but knocking down the familiar to build the homogeneous was a very bad idea.  It is kind of ironic in a way that the citizens (read LDS Church) in favor of the changes forgot the concept of people returning to the familiar.  The malls might have been old and losing stores, but at least people knew the terrain, the fountains, and even the food court.  Eventually the shoppers would have returned, but now it feels like walking down the Vegas strip with new buildings that lack any sense of personality.

Another ironic twist to my visit occurred when I saw a number of billboards advertising "food storage" sales.  One of the principles behind provident living is for people to manage themselves, not to pay anther company to manage things for them.  Paying a company thousands of dollars to stock your basement with six months of food rations and water is like paying an actor to go to church for you--pointless.  There may be food on your shelf, and there may be a seat in the pew, but both actions miss the mark.

I got tired of driving, and one must drive a lot to get around town.  I have grown accustomed to the subways and buses of New York.  Public transit is awesome, but I don't think it will be catching on anytime soon in Utah where urban sprawl is rampant.  I may live in a pigeon coop here in the city, but I am pretty confident that I am living a "greener" lifestyle here in this metropolis than most people in Salt Lake.

All in all, I am a little jealous of my family and friends in Utah.  They have beautiful scenery, great weather, cheap food, and little traffic.  I know that I will be back for many visits and many Summer nights, and there may come a day where I will call Utah home.  For now, I am happy to be back in my city where I am blessed to have a job, attend an amazing school, parent a precocious child, and build a very bright future--a very bright future indeed.  Of course that is another blog post for another day.