My Urban Panic Button

Oregon Dairy Princess Mary Ann Cantrall, 1969-70

One of the most stressful aspects of urban living for me has been the urban piece. I grew up surrounded by prairie and fields and those country roads John Denver was always singing about.

It’s not my fear of unpreparedness for a possible apocalypse (though this Salon piece didn’t help), and it’s not the ill health effects (and thanks Daily Mail for this pick-me-up).

The most difficult aspect of urban dwelling for me is the lack of rural. With so many people and so little green, city living makes attempts at quieting my mind feel sometimes fruitless.

At times, I’ve wished for an app on my phone that acts as an urban panic button. It wouldn’t call the police or alert other emergency personnel. It would quickly plot the route to the most green space with the fewest people. Successes versions would allow for amentities like hammockability or privileging green over people or vice versa.

While I’ve found quiet spots in D.C. since arrving a year and a half ago, they aren’t the same as the easy access to which I’d become accustomed in Florida, Illinois, or Colorado. Many of them are the size of postage stamps and act as post cards from true open green spaces as though they were passing the message, “wish you were here.”

So do I.

This post is part of a daily conversation between Ben Wilkoff and me. Each day Ben and I post a question to each other and then respond to one another. You can follow the questions and respond via Twitter at #LifeWideLearning16.

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