I was driving around Omaha today, running errands, when I was stopped at the intersection of 72nd and Dodge streets. It’s an intersection I have driven through hundreds of times, but today I was struck by a memory of 15-year-old Amanda. With my learner’s permit in hand and my family in the back seat, I wanted to drive in Omaha when we were visiting for the day. I remember coming up to that same intersection (before Border’s bookstore went out of business) and being absolutely TERRIFIED. So many lanes; so many vehicles; so much going on! This summer, I drove that same route twice a day while singing along to the classic rock radio stations and putting on lipstick. It’s funny how things that once were a big deal have become commonplace since I have moved to the “big city” three-and-a-half years ago. (Even the fact that I put “big city” in quotes shows how much I have changed since leaving Buffalo county.)
A list of things that used to be exciting and have now become commonplace:
- Taking elevators. I can’t think of an elevator I used regularly in Kearney. In fact, I can’t think of five times I took an elevator.
- Seeing out of state license plates. The Council Bluffs residents have made that an everyday sight, and Creighton is full of Minnesota, Kansas and Missouri plates. (Even a few Hawaii ones, too!)
- The interstate. Back in my day, Kearney had only one interstate exit, and it was located at the opposite edge of town from where I lived. I figured that the interstate was a special place that was only accessed for long trip and special occasions. Who knew people take it every single day? Who knew it is normal to have an interstate on-ramp in every other block?
- Similarly to the last one, driving fast. Speeds above 35 mph are common and expected in town. *mind blown*
- Seeing extremely wealthy and extremely poor people. I know that back home there is extreme poverty and extreme wealth, but in Omaha it is so easily observed on the streets that it is no longer attention-grabbing.
- Shopping/Eating at [insert any store or restaurant here]: Remember when shopping at American Eagle was a special and rare occasion? Or how eating at the Cheesecake Factory was only on vacations? These are no longer exciting, as I can drive fifteen minutes and go anywhere that was once exotic. (I can now drive thirty minutes and buy discounted exotic stuff! Thanks, outlet malls!)
- Concerts. People used to talk for days about concerts or shows the attended at the Qwest Center. Now, tickets are so easily accessible and the arenas offer a multitude of offerings, I probably know someone who has attended last night’s hot concert. Not as exciting.
Do you still get excited about taking elevators? Has moving ever “jaded” you?