- Ling Ma
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Whenever she’d get mad, she’d take her index finger out and poke me in the forehead. You you you you you, she’d say, as if accusing me of being me.
Ambling through midtown, I thought of the Robert Polidori photographs of Chernobyl and Pripyat, a ghost town that formerly housed the nuclear-plant workers. Or the Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre images of Detroit, the images of abandoned auto plants and once-grand theaters. And the Seph Lawless images of the vacant, decrepit shopping malls that closed after the 2008 crash.
To live in a city is to live the life that it was built for, to adapt to its schedule and rhythms, to move within the transit layout made for you during the morning and evening rush, winding through the crowds of fellow commuters. To live in a city is to consume its offerings. To eat at its restaurants. To drink at its bars. To shop at its stores. To pay its sales taxes. To give a dollar to its homeless. To live in a city is to take part in and to propagate its impossible systems. To wake up. To go to work in the morning. It is also to take pleasure in those systems because, otherwise, who could repeat the same routines, year in, year out?