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Old 10-30-2015, 09:02 PM
13 posts, read 17,954 times
Reputation: 34


I've read so many posts where people trash or elevate a city based on limited experience. If you are only visiting as a tourist or bar hopper then you are going to encounter a wider spectrum of personalities (with more on the desperate end) than if you settle somewhere and take a full time job. If you only live somewhere as a student then your experience is going to be colored by the fact that you are interacting with others that are not from that locale either.

After living and working in many cities, I feel that there are distinct differences in how natives treat "strangers". My experience is unique because I spent about twenty years as a professional/transient. I would move to a city I was curious about and take a menial job while I looked for a temporary graphics position. This allowed me to experience a wider range of each city's personality. I lived in rooming houses and shared adult houses until I was able to move into my own place, where I (usually) met more stable individuals.

Please tell about your city experiences. I will be interested to see how other's experiences compare with some of these cities I have listed.

HOME. I grew up there. It's hard to peg from my experience, but one thing I noticed early: lot's of people moving in and out with changes in presidential administrations and such; a transient, but well educated city with lots to do.

Richmond, VA
COOL. I was a grad student here; then worked in the restaurant biz before landing a real job. Richmond is (or was - 1982 to 1994) fun and friendly. Hip in a more purposeful way; not a lot of slackers. At that time, some of the most beautiful people (per capita) I've seen... might not be true anymore.

Baltimore, MD
OKAY. I lived in a blue collar area near Fort McHenry. Not friendly at first, but warming up considerably by the time I moved. It's what I expected. Bunch of Rocky Balboa type guys in the hood who turned out to be pretty nice. Met some crazy, very hostile people there though. Some extremely bizarre customers; one guy wanted me to create a corporate identity for his illegal drug biz complete with a business card including his name and phone; I patiently explained that it would be illegal for me to do such a thing and probably not practical for him... He was one of many loons and grifters.

Allentown, PA
FRIENDLY. An interesting combination of German, Irish, Italian descent mixed with NYC refugees. Overall good experience, but not much to do except visit NYC a lot, being only an hour and change away. Great job, fun freelance. Good people.

Philadelphia, PA
BAD. People were nosy, hostile, desperate. I thought things would get better when I landed a real job and moved out of a very weird adult house, but no. Lots of bad vibes in a nice neighborhood too; messed up professional people on the job. What happened to the city of brotherly love? Break-ins, vandalism, ID theft.

New Orleans, LA (2000 - Katrina)
BAD. I love New Orleans. I love its celebrations; its music, its history. As a party center though, this place attracts some very desperate people. I stayed on as a carriage driver/tour guide because the money was excellent. If I had gotten a real job, I think I would have met some of the native French descent and my experience would have been different. Make no mistake though: New Orleans has a LOT of transplants. A big percentage of them are selfish hedonists. As for the native population, the city proper is 70 percent black with some of the worst poverty in the U.S. The crime was staggering. Break-in(s), Vandalism(s), Threats (don't confront thugs - they will kill you).

Little Rock, AR
OKAY. I evacuated to LR. The people were friendly. Best drivers I have encountered anywhere. They were working hard at making the city more cosmopolitan; from what I hear they are succeeding. Sort of a cleaner, nicer Memphis. A friendly sentiment heard more than a few times began to get on my nerves though: "You're not from here, are you?" Even the kids where I was a sub teacher asked that. I asked one class where they thought I was from. One kid said "England". Ha! Theft was a problem.

Mobile, AL
BAD. I couldn't figure it out. It has its own slightly more English New Orleans look. Lots of potential. Smaller population. Less poverty. But - not many places to go; surprising lack of coffee houses and cafes. Lots of nasty people. Lots of crazies. Very aggressive drivers. Police even tried hauling totaled cars onto the larger median strips at big intersections to remind the citizens to drive carefully. It wasn't working... And it didn't do much for the overall aesthetic. My graphics job was pretty good but there were some weird people working there too. Mobile is an anomaly; it rates very high on depression and stress scales. It shouldn't. Oh yeah, they have more tornadoes than Kansas in that part of the country.

Cincinnati, OH
PRETTY GOOD. This is a formerly cloistered city now becoming more professionally transient. It has always been cosmopolitan, and it is beautiful. I got that menial job at first and met some actually half decent people this time. Also, I have learned how to neutralize more toxic social situations; I can see them coming now. Most desperate people have a history; ask a lot of questions about their life. They will start to avoid you... Also start attending a church for social reasons, if not spiritual. That is a great way to get established quickly, and weird people are nicer to church goers, out of guilt maybe. I work for Cincinnati Public Schools. I encountered a parochial mindset here at first. I was on a friendly sort of probation, now I am on very friendly terms with everyone on my job and in my hip (a little too trendy, really) Northside/Clifton neighborhood.

Tell us about your Friendly City / Mean City experiences!
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