I may not be as worldly as a diplomat who has lived in multiple countries, but I have moved around and lived in 5 cities. I’ll acknowledge that since they all happen to be in colder weather climates near the Great Lakes, they’re not the most diverse set of cities. But I’ve realized that moving around and traveling has given me exposure to differences and commonalities and a perspective that can make what other people say about cities irritating.
Last week, here in the Minneapolis area, it was -15 degrees Fahrenheit without windchill! Yet, people in Los Angeles recently complained that it was “freezing” when the temperature dipped below 50 degrees. (Nothing alive can freeze at 50 degrees so it’s a ridiculout claim, but I digress.) It’s all relative. People who never live in more than one city or don’t care to learn about other places have no perspective. Then they tend to complain when it could be much worse. Even if they don’t move to different cities to live, they could always educate themselves by using the internet. Then maybe they would stop complaining and start understanding. The same holds true for people who say their lives are horrible or that they’re the only people with problems.
On the other hand, “lifers” of a city (ones that only live in one area their whole lives) think that certain attributes of their city are unique to that city. I have news. There is no wall between different cities that makes the characteristics of their weather completely different than another major city 150 miles away. Cities in the same regions have many similarities when it comes to weather and even the nature of their residents. I find it extremely annoying when people of so many cities say things like:
- In MY CITY, there are 2 seasons, 4th of July and winter.
- If you don’t like the weather here, just wait 5 minutes.
- MY CITY has the worst drivers.
- Drivers in MY CITY forget how to drive when it rains or snows.
- When it goes above XX degrees, we wear shorts in MY CITY.
- We have the best fans in MY CITY.
- People in MY CITY are the most generous and giving.
I find it both cliché and hilarious. It’s not like anybody means any harm. But it would be nice if people thought of more original things to say about their cities and complained less about things that aren’t even that bad compared to other cities.
If you look at the facts, Minneapolis is the coldest major city in the United States. Weather changes quickly in many cities throughout the Midwest, across the Plains if not in more regions. The hottest major U.S. city is Phoenix. As for each city’s drivers, it’s a subjective call and it depends on lots of things like traffic and enforcement. Generosity rankings are all over the board based on my research. Loyalty of fans in each of the city depends on how much the teams are winning at the time and it would be hard to measure. Perhaps somebody should.
In the grand scheme of things, this is such a trivial issue in our daily lives, but the general premise is somewhat important. A person has to look at things from different places to know how bad, good or unique one place is or to know that their lives are typical.