Recently, I read Stranger in a Strange Land in which Paul, a man with Asperger’s syndrome visits a big city (London) and finds it rather overwhelming. I live in another big city (New York) and I find it almost ideal for my disability. Why this difference?
Partly, of course, it’s what each of us is used to. Even neurotypical people are more comfortable with what they are used to! But there is more. If you want to know why he prefers Dorset to London, go read the article. As to why I love New York (and other big cities), read on:
1. I don’t drive. Not all cities have good mass transit (although both London and New York do) but rural areas almost never do.
2. In the part of New York City where I live the streets are laid on in a grid. Not only that, but the streets are numbered. 81, 82, 83 …. That I get! In rural areas, there are often a bewildering (to me) range of streets, avenues, ways, places, highways, routes and so on. And they all go higgledy-piggledy all over the place. And since nearly everyone is in a car, it’s hard to ask for directions.
3. Big cities usually have maps available, often quite detailed maps. I am good with maps (but lousy with directions). In a big city there are often people to ask for help.
4. Big cities tend to be less personal. For instance, if I get on a bus, I don’t have to remember if I know this bus driver (I don’t). I say “good morning” and put my metroCard in the slot. He says “good morning” or something and then I go into the bus. Even in NYC, I do run into people I know on the street, and I often don’t recognize them. This is embarrassing.
5. In big cities, nearly everything is available.
What do you prefer? Rural area, small town, suburbia or urban?