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Proving Plutarch Prescient
Well, the old blogaroo has languished in some dark, musty corner of the interwebz for far too long. Here’s my latest shot at making it active again!
This is a little game I like to play called “If a city were a person, what kind of person would it be”. And the city we’re going to play the game with is my current location–YYC, aka Calgary, AB.
One of the things I like to do is think of cities as people–i.e., if this city was a person, what kind of person would it be? So here’s my “caricature” of Calgary. It’s a very young city–even compared to places back east (like Fredericton, where I grew up), let alone places on virtually every other continent. It’s still trying to find its identity and place in the world. In other words, Calgary is like a teenager. It also feel very male, for whatever reasons.
So my mental picture of the person Calgary embodies is this: A big hulking prairie farmboy in his late teens who yearns to leave the farm and move to the big city. He’s a pretty smart kid, somewhat of an autodidact, and has pretty high goals and aspirations, with a strong sense of ambition to achieve them, but he’s not terribly worldly and still has some way to go in terms of his educational growth. He’s a big, strong fellow–but he’s going through a massive adolescent growth spurt, so he’s not quite in full control of his massive body–still a little awkward and ungainly, even clumsy at times.
Like all adolescents, he’s desperately searching to find out, decide, and accept who he is–he’s looking for an identity. So he’s trying on a variety of identities, taking and rejecting bits and pieces from each one he tries. Like all adolescents, he’s deeply insecure. But also like all adolescents, he desperately wants to hide that insecurity from everybody around him–so he projects a false front of (over)confident bravado, hoping, to a certain extent, to bluff his way along. He tries his best to project an air of supreme confidence, hoping nobody will notice it’s a mask.
Like all adolescents, he see a world of opportunity and possibility ahead of him, and can’t wait to get there–so he’s in a bit of a hurry to get there, and makes some pretty big mistakes in his rush. Like all adolescents, he feels a certain sense of invulnerability, and is prone to taking some risks that give his older and wiser family members a certain amount of concern–but he doesn’t really want to listen to them, so sure is he of his adolescent convictions. He cares about where he comes from, but he’s not old enough yet to be nostalgic–for him, the world is much more about the future than it is about the past…and maybe even the present.
He’s starting to learn about and understand people and places around him, both near and far, but again, this isn’t fully formed. Similarly, he’s starting to develop an appreciation for things he thought he’d never care about–art “and stuff like that”, but once again, his understanding of this realm is still somewhat raw and not yet fully formed. He’s a great kid–earnest, sincere, well-meaning–but he’s still a kid.
And THAT is the mental picture I have created of Calgary and carry with me everywhere I go. It gives me what I THINK is a great frame of reference by which to look at and think about the city. If anybody out there wants to play, I’d love to hear your character sketch of Calgary–or anywhere else, for that matter!