After I watched the latest video from Greg and Jumi, @foodandfootprints, about Peruvian food in Queens, I texted my friend Pete to meet me in Jackson Heights by a food cart that sells grilled beef hearts on sticks. Since there are many carts around the 90 Street station, we had trouble finding the cart. What finally allowed us to identify the right cart was not the sign with a long Spanish name, but Greg himself in person sitting by the cart eating a sandwich. I’m not sure if I would be able to find it again, if Greg is not installed there.
He told me he regularly eats on that block like it’s his dining room. I admire his dedication to his neighborhood. I tend to try a new place every time I eat. I’ve often thought about the difference between depth and breadth in terms of how we experience our lives. Many people are passionate about visiting as many countries as possible while others dedicate themselves to the few they feel connected to. And, of course, many people do both; scan broadly first and home in on a few later. To that end, visiting many different countries while you are still young makes sense.
One time while on a plane to San Francisco, I watched many towns move under me, like on a conveyor belt. I could technically claim I visited those towns for 5 seconds. I’ve had similar thoughts while on a train too. I wondered what I would experience if I jumped off the train at a random point and spent a week there. Who would I meet? What would I eat? What would I learn about its history?
These questions lead me to ask why my experience would be better at my final destination than at any random point along the way. Why not just spend the week at the closest point? This question cannot be more compelling in New York City than it would be in other cities since every block here has so much depth.
If you are ready to dig deeper into your own passion, the pursuit of it costs practically nothing because the bottomless depth is right in front of you. Even if you had a hundred lives, you would only make a small dent in that knowledge and understanding. There are no better ways to live, only more expensive ways.
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