One takes the initial setting of his or her childhood as the world’s landscape; a status quo aesthetic by which all others are measured.
It is only later that you learn that the rest of the world does not look like this:
I have an infinite reserve of nostalgia for decaying industrial remnants. These images bring me comfort in the way that all reminders of our childhood homes do. It wasn’t until I left that I learned that rusting machinery and seriatim factories appear to other people as desolate and an unsuitable place to live.
I cannot criticize someone for having such a negative reaction. If I didn’t grow up here and I was just driving by I probably wouldn’t take notice of this landscape. If I did, I would think it was bleak and, in moments of total honesty, I would think it was pathetic.
But I did grow up here, and so I am able to provide value and meaning.
What does this look like to you? I ran down this alley hundreds of times. Sometimes there was a can at the end of it I had to kick:
And this is the creek we often swam in, ignorant of the fact that it was constructed solely to carry industrial pollutants over the course of a century:
I don’t live there anymore. Now I live in a place that comes with its own meaning:
You don’t need personal memories to distinguish New York from anywhere else. Its residents have already spoken for it. And if that isn’t enough, plenty of people who haven’t been here have written about it. They have already provided you with the appropriate memories. Now it is your job to live these memories.
Any blemishes you find are merely indications of authenticity. Here, you are always “somewhere.”