Friday, 31 January 2014

City or country?

Where's an Aspie most likely to find a place to belong?  In the city, in a regional area, or properly out bush?

You know how they say if you've met one Aspie, you've met... one Aspie?  Well, the answer to this question's much the same - it entirely depends on the individual.

Floor walkersCity life does have much to recommend it to those of an Aspie persuasion.  Sheer strength of numbers means you're more likely to have access to services and specialists if you need them, and if you have interests like tabletop gaming or cosplay, you're more likely to find venues that cater to you and people who share your passions.  If sensory issues or seizures mean you can't drive, cities also tend to have much better public transport than regional and rural areas.

Personally, while I love visiting big cities (the galleries!  the shows!  the public transport!) I really wouldn't cope well if I lived in that environment.  I don't deal well with the crowds and the general chaos.  I really struggle with navigation, both on the streets and inside large buildings like train stations and shopping centres.  I can't handle the traffic at all - when I did live in a major city for a few months, I didn't even take my car because I knew I wouldn't be able to drive while I was there.  (Relying on Brisbane's suburban bus services as your main means of getting around kind of sucks, by the way.)

Emu Swamp Creek
Part of me would really like to live in the bush, far away from all the noise and clutter and chaos.  But, for me, that's based more on a romantic image of what country life is like than what it is actually like.  I grew up in the bush, after all.  And bloody hated it.  Having no friends in a city teeming with strangers is infinitely better than having no friends in some dry godsforsaken place where every kid on the school bus run actively hates you because you're a freak.

Finding a good balance is an ongoing challenge.  Ideally I need a place that's small enough to be liveable yet large enough to have reasonable social and career opportunities.  It needs to have all the health and aged care services my parents are going to need in the next 20 or 30 years.  It needs to be near the coast (because I like the seaside) but not directly on it (because my parents don't).  Given the sometimes erratic income that comes with freelancing, it needs to be pretty cheap to live.  It needs to not get too hot in summer (although in winter it can get as cold as it likes - snow would be a bonus) and not have too many cyclones, rapists, floods, crocodiles, bushfires, murderers, or other horrid things.

If you know of such a place, please do let me know. :)