* Welcome to The Big Jewel, which is a great place to visit, and frankly we wouldn't mind if you lived here. However, we doubt that Joseph S. Pete's significant other feels the same way.

Great Place To Visit, But I Could Never Live There

By:
jpete@alumni.iu.edu

“I could never move to Chicago,” she professed breathily at the bar in Indiana. “So much crime. So many shootings. Tragic, just tragic. And it has more distressed properties than anywhere in the world, and trust me, I’ve been all over the world. It’s a great place to visit, but I could never live there.”

“I could never move to New York City,” she said a little later. “It’s too expensive. It’s like $3,000 a month to rent 250 square feet of space. You get bled dry to live in a closet and not even the whole closet — just the left side. You’re in the left side of the closet with a hamper wondering if you’ll need a roommate or a side gig selling black market HBO Go passwords, tainted heroin and bathtub kombucha just to make rent. Such a fun place to visit, but no one wants to live in the most populous city. And I mean literally no one.”

“I could never move to Portland,” she blurted out a minute later, apropos of nothing. “Too many hipsters, with their beard wax and artisanal beard wax and organic beard wax and locally sourced small batch beard wax. What about Big Beard Wax? Nobody ever thinks about the upper corporate echelons of multinational beard wax conglomerates and their feelings. All those┬áhipsters with all their craft beer and vinyl records and ancient Sumerian records and historical Assyrian records and ahistorical neo-Assyrian records, clay tablets and whatnot. I heard that no one even can agree on whether Portland is in Oregon or Maine. How can you live with that type of uncertainty, not even knowing what coast you’re on?”

“I could never move to Atlantis. Too fictional. I don’t understand how anyone could live in a place that’s entirely made up out of whole cloth. Okay, out of all of Plato’s allegories, it’s the least livable. Can we all just agree on that? Would that be too much? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place for a vacation but I’m not going to develop gills just so I can live underwater. Perfectly happy right here in Indiana, thanks. It’s called land, and it’s actually pretty great.”

“I could never live on Mars. Too little oxygen. I prefer breathing. I’m almost addicted to oxygen. Like my yogi says, just breathe in. It’s so soothing. Don’t tell my doctor or anything, but I swear it’s habit-forming. Matt Damon made Mars seem so glamorous in ‘The Martian,’ but I didn’t see a single space potato the whole time I was there. No stranded astronauts, no terraforming, no spuds, no nothing. And come on, Red Planet? Great marketing, but why don’t you focus less on the color and more on an atmosphere that isn’t 95 percent carbon dioxide? I would totally go on a space mission there but don’t ask me to colonize.”

“I could never move to Dimension X. Trust me, I’ve been everywhere in the multiverse, and it’s the worst dimension. The worst by far, hands down. They don’t even have avocado toast there yet. Mark Twain talked about wanting to be in Cincinnati when the world ended because everything comes there 10 years later, so he had clearly never rocketed through an interdimensional wormhole into the lamest of all possible dimensions.”

“I could never live in a yurt in the woods behind the K-Mart,” she said, slapping a tip down after the bartender gave her another glass of vino. “My boyfriend asked me to move in with him. He’s a nice guy but I’m just not ready to take that step. I am so not a yurt person. I’m all for semi-permanent tents, but why does it need to be round? Is it a tire? A wheel of cheese? A sand mandala? I visited a round barn in Michigan once, and it was frankly a little too circular for my taste.”

“And frankly, I could never live as a single-celled organism. Cells are great. They’re totally underrated. And the more the merrier. Why would you want to settle for just one? Would you ever have a single Pringle, a single M&M? No. Thanks. Hard nope. Hard no…Wait, what was I talking about?”

“Oh yeah, I could never live as an inanimate object,” she said, staring at the bottom of her wine glass. “I mean, like, I know it’s not even technically possible, but it’s like they say, ‘Once you go animate, you never go back.'”

 

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