Thursday, March 15, 2012

Torn Between Two Cities: An Urban Love Triangle

Have you ever been in love with two people at the same time?

I haven't, but the very idea sounds like torture. I have enough trouble negotiating a single affair of the heart, let alone two of them. "One lover at a time" has never been my motto, but it could be. I don't believe I have the mental, emotional or physical capacity to juggle two at once.

In a way, though, that's exactly what I've been doing for the last six months or so. Only I'm not in love with two men. I'm head over heels for two cities: Melbourne and Bangkok. I guess you could say that this is my tale of two cities. I guess you could also say that if cities are women, then I'm once again exploring my heterosexual side.

I won't go into the things I love about each place, having pretty much exhausted that angle on this blog. But it wasn't until yesterday that I realized it's like I am front burner in one of those old familiar soap-opera love triangles, except instead of having a guy on either side, I am waffling between two cities, two women.

The bright side is that if I pick one over the other, nobody is going to get hurt -- except perhaps for the people I leave behind in either city, and if I'm being completely honest here, unlike the friends I left behind in New York and Buenos Aires, they wouldn't miss me much, or for long.

The three months I spent last year living in Bangkok were some of the best times of my life, but memories of Melbourne were lurking in the corner of my mind the entire time. Reunited with Melbourne in January and February, it felt so good, but I couldn't get Bangkok out of my head. Now two weeks into Bangkok, Phase II, I'm looking forward to doing everything I didn't get to do here the first time around, but as of a day or two ago, Melbourne began invading my dreams again.

Now I know how Mary MacGregor felt when she sang her 1976 No. 1 hit, "Torn Between Two Lovers," only I have a terrible singing voice and a less sappy melody playing in my head.

I suppose it's a pretty enviable position. Most people have a hard time finding love once, or one place where they are thrilled to call home. So many people end up in a particular city based on the job opportunities there, but if they had to choose, they would opt for an entirely different living situation.

In the end, the same deciding factor (work) will likely come into play if I decide to settle down permanently with one lover over the other. Whoever is ready to make a commitment (i.e., a full-time job offer that I not only can't refuse, but for which I would be willing to give up my freedom to decide how I spend my days) will end up getting me for good. But it won't be as simple as putting a ring on it. It's going to have to be such a jaw-dropping stone that I'd be ready to not only pack up everything I own and move in, but I might even sign a lease, something I haven't done since last century. (During my final six years in New York CIty and my entire time in Buenos Aires, I owned my apartments.)

Or maybe there's someone else, an undercover angel (to quote the title of another '70s No. 1 hit, this one by Alan O'Day), holding out on the sidelines, waiting for the perfect opportunity to fly in and sweep me off my feet. Perhaps she will be ready to offer that long-term commitment I won't be able to refuse.

I just hope she's somewhere warm with less than a 50 percent chance of rain.
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