Know the City

Molly Small
April 23, 2017

“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”

-Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

One must persist in the efforts to recognize the scars and cowlicks of a city. Until you spend an uncomfortably long time in a place swarming with unfamiliar brick and bodies, three streets, two pubs, and a body of water are your compass. When you arrive in a place for the week or a weekend, you explore museums and probably restaurants that have been Zagat approved.

“You know, we’ll never really ever get to know a place like we got to know Dublin,” reflected my diligently pensive friend.

When do you ever fully digest the semiotic intricacies of a space? Memorize the one-way streets like your own veins and sometimes forget to look both ways when crossing because you cross it five times every day. Study the streets where no one else is wandering and walk until your knees ache from smacking the concrete, all the while inhaling the unfiltered world around you. Pretend to belong there, and then you will.

Dance down the sidewalk on one of the rare sunny afternoons like Joseph Gordon Levitt in 500 Days of Summer. Go to a Story Slam and recognize that one man. Maybe even say hello. Navigate the bus line without once using Google Maps.

Know the city.

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Molly Small

<p>I&rsquo;m currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Information Science. I also plan to graduate with a Legal Studies minor and a Latin American studies certificate which is evidence that my curiosity is always being pulled in chaotically amazing directions. I would like to consider myself a cooking, hiking, and gardening aficionado. I believe in empathy, vegetarianism, and girl power.</p>

2017 Spring
Home University:
University of Pittsburgh
Information Systems
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