City Mouse / Country Mouse

On weekends we have been driving out to some of the forest preserves around the city to get some fresh air and do a little hiking. We’re not going far, usually a 30 – 40 minute drive from our house, but you’d be surprised at how many places there are within that zone once you start looking for them.

There is a wide range of what you find at these places. I don’t really understand the rhyme or reason as to why some of them are extremely crowded and some are desolate. I guess it just depends on the neighborhood around them.

Anyway, this last weekend we went to one that was relatively crowded (though only on the paved parts; we were all alone on the unpaved trails!). So we show up all decked out with our hiking gear and our masks, but I was absolutely *astounded* to see it was mostly only us. In the few hours we were out there I saw easily over a hundred people without masks, versus when I’m in the neighborhood at home I would almost never see someone without a mask visible on their person. It made me feel….weird. Uncomfortable. Like I just dropped in from outer space. I wanted to say things to people we were passing, like, “Oh, we’re from the city. Things are different there.” I just felt very out of place.

As we drove home I was just noticing how crowded the parking lots were (and at a pool supply store of all places!). I’m sure if you were from around there it might seem different than normal to you, but to me it just seemed like…business as usual. It was very disorienting. And here we were only 30 minutes or so outside of the city! How different must it be downstate, to say nothing of the middle of Montana or something.

It really is crazy, even with the internet serving as the great equalizer, how different things are here in the city.

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