I was driving through downtown Minneapolis the other day - well, I wasn't the one driving, my dad was. We had just entered one of those underground tunnels on the freeway. The kind that is lit by strangely gold-orange colored lights and has no-passing lanes. They're usually short, only a thirty seconds or so tops; you race along with six or seven other cars, somewhat suspended together. I remember, as soon as we entered that tunnel, I felt the strangest sense of peace.
The contentment continued as we burst out the other side, and Minneapolis grew in angles over our heads. I couldn't figure it out for the longest time, the whole ride back actually. And then, just as we were pulling into the driveway, I realized it was the lights. The city lights calm me.
Growing up in the suburbs, I would never have considered myself a city girl; in fact, I actually feel like I belong more so in the country (with it's wide open spaces and fences and forests). But now that I've been at college for a year and a half and met my share of wonderful people from various backgrounds, I've realized that I'm more 'city' than I bargained for. I buy scones, I can drive one-ways with ease, I know about all the art museums and Orchestra Hall, I love driving around Lake of the Isles, I love coffees and cafes and the traffic outside. The list goes on, but there are many aspects of the city that have somehow situated themselves inside me.
I was discussing this with Amy the other night and telling her how I loved the lights and not just because they were beautiful, and she said she could relate.
"I think it's from when we were little," I said, "I just remember it being nightime and sitting in the backseat while we drove."
"Yeah I remember that too, except with my sisters."
"I think it was just comforting, knowing I was safe. Nothing could get me, I was with my parents and it was safe."
"That's it. That's why we love city lights."