Imagining cities as a kid growing up in the Bible Belt
There was one immensely important, in-person experience I had relating to these big cities. When I was 10, I think, maybe 11, I took a trip to Los Angeles to visit a relative. I actually went alone, changing planes in Atlanta, with the airline alerted to look after me. It was pretty awesome, especially Disneyland and the freeways, along with a moonlit horseback ride that seems unfathomable in today’s LA. Later that summer – or was it the next? – my mother took me to New York City to visit different relatives. It was an all-night bus ride to DC, where we changed to the train for New York. All the tourist sites were exciting and, being the nerdy kid that I was, I wanted to see the United Nations. I still have a little blue UN flag from that trip. These short visits provided still more fuel for my imagination.