City Mouse, Town Mouse

Visiting our friends in Pennsylvania over this past weekend, I discovered something new: the life of the town mouse. Until now, I’ve only known the pretty sharp divide between Country Mouse (beauty, idyll, low rent, and terrible chinese food) and City Mouse (the glittering compromise of paying pounds of flesh for the privilege of seeing a human poo on the subway… on the way to get amazing sichuan and see The Moth story slam live). My dear friend McKay, sensing a potential shift, gave me this New Yorker cartoon when I first moved up from my Virginia farmhouse (sidenote: the fact that a New Yorker cartoon actually pertained to me was an early City Mouse thrill):

Cartoon by A. Geisert, 12/1/06

But instead of either traipsing down a fetid sidewalk or run over in the middle of 6th avenue, there could be another fate: Town Mouse. Rare in America, my friends have a beautiful old sort of Craftsman house in an awake little old-fashioned downtown- walking distance to the market, the dry cleaner, the bookstore, the coffeeshop, the train station, and (!) work etc. but with space, calm, fabulous light and a good mortgage (I’m guessing. City Mice don’t think twice about talking rent money and square footage over $8 beers, but when you’re drinking a very nice cote du something with some Town Mice, it feels unseemly to ask them whether they paid extra for the washer/dryer). But think. Town Mouse could keep her jewels in a tiny cup when she was at the sink. Town Mouse could have a sweet, sunny little place for strawberry baskets, eggs from the chickens, and muddy shoes.Town Mouse could have this tree in her backyard.But…City Mouse still has it pretty good, for now.

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