Everywhere I go I pass by more condominiums around places like Revere, Lynn, Boston, and other areas in Massachusetts. A luxurious condominium here, a high-rise apartment complex there, and another apartment building that is fifty stories high. I’ve been seeing less houses and more concrete buildings providing shoebox-size apartments that you can’t even walk around in.
Seeing all these apartment buildings clustering together reminded me of a short story I read in high school. I remember reading Ray Bradbury’s infamous short story The Pedestrian in 10th grade English class
Here is what I remembered about the story:
Leonard Mead was a writer who was all alone in the world in 2053 A.D. Within a city of 3 million people, every cottage and home was shunted with dark windows. No one ever read any magazine or newspapers in this era; every resident was glued to their television, like zombies staring at the multicolored lights barely touching their faces. He would peer through the windows and whisper towards his residents about what is happening in the world.
When he closed his eyes, Leonard imagined himself in the center of the plain windless Arizona desert with no houses within thousands of miles. In the last 10 years, Leonard never met another person strolling the streets at night.
He wandered back to his house where he noticed a lone car parked I the corner. Leonard was halted by the police, explaining that he was walking in the night for some fresh air. The cop was confused by his intentions and forced Leonard into his police vehicle. He would be taken to the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies for his noted actions. As Leonard rode in the car, he passed by the dark houses with no sound or motion occurring within the empty sidewalks.
This short story is an eerie coincidence to what’s happening with populated cities. As a current writer, I feel the same haunting pain that Leonard felt when wandering the sidewalks at night. I see average joes shut-in within their shoebox house, drinking their caffeinated beverages and shoving junk food straight to their stomachs. Could we get to a point where I could be arrested for wandering around the beach late at night? I fear for that kind of future where a cop would be suspicious of me jamming out to music on the beach. I am someone who craves for the outdoors, wandering around the outside world to discover new places. It seems that more condominiums are planning to be built, with more stupid residents focusing on the mindboggling content within their idiot box. What’s truly scary about this situation is that people have slowly lost touch with the real world, relying on someone powerful to keep them safe and sound in the comforts of their shoebox apartment.
I can’t see myself working within a huge city; the very idea of living with millions of people wandering in such a dense area would keep me anxious every day. I’m not claustrophobic, but I need my open space to focus on one thing that is going on now. My current dream is to drive away from the city and live in an area with wide open spaces. As I am confined within the layers of concrete blocking off more acres of land, I hope to move far off to the open spaces where I can truly be free.