A few months ago, there was a blog-post list of ‘The 10 Nerdiest Cities in the US’ that was making the rounds on my end of the internet. It made me immediately pretty amused, and if I’m honest, a bit indignant, in that it names my (current) home city of Atlanta as number one, over, say, Seattle (#3).
(I’ll pause for a moment to let those of you who’ve spent time here for more than a nerd convention finish giggling.)
The person who ranked the cities apparently did so on measures like game stores per capita, and size/number of local conventions, which is all well and good, but it really got me thinking about what makes a city environment feel the way it does. Atlanta feels like a nerd city for the four-day span when downtown is swarmed with tens of thousands of con-goers, but the rest of the year… not so much. It’s cosmopolitan, so it doesn’t feel hostile in the way that various small southern towns I’ve been in do, but it’s no San Francisco or Seattle, either. It does, however, notably feel like the queer city it has a reputation for being, assuming you’re sticking to a particular 2-3 neighborhoods.
When I think about what a city environment is like, I think about the paradigms and cultural references and interests you can expect to find in a random sample of the population, and less scientifically, if I talk about Topic X to strangers, how often will I run into someone who can relate. So what I want to know from you is –
What creates the ‘feel’ of a city (or similar locale) to you? What do you notice the most? What sorts of things tend to stick out as different from what you’re used to? How distinct are different places you’ve been or lived in terms of their flavor in your memory, and what makes them that way?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.