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Sunday October 17, 2004, 22:10

I wrote this a while ago, on the train, and I had emailed it to myself. It is about the closest my writing has come to really reflecting on my life, and how I feel about anything lately, so I've decided to put it online.

On the North Jersey Coast line of New Jersey transit, just before the South Amboy train station heading back to Manhattan, there is a series of houses, identical, street after street, sitting on the water, surrounding soccer fields and tennis courts. At the previous station there is an advertisement for the ferry to downtown Manhattan, featuring a "traffic free" 45 minute commute and Friday happy hours.

I never want to live anywhere like that. I seem to recall living in a community in Japan where all the houses looked the same, with a wall surrounding them. I don't think that there was a gate to get through the wall, but there could have been. But we were in the middle of the city, or at the very least in the city, if not in the middle of it. And what is the middle of an urban sprawl like Tokyo anyway?

I realized yesterday, while driving into Pennsylvania to play paintball for a friend's bachelor party, that I really don't have any idea how most of my country operates. Weekends playing paintball, weeks driving to and from work, whatever form that might take, and in general not living like that small part of the population that lives in the cities do.

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