Just pulling something out of my last post which I found real interesting upon re-reading, the phrase public life.
If there's one real huge difference between living here in Humboldt County versus New York City, it's how small the public sphere seems to be. I'm sure this will be a contrast anywhere else I live, but there's a way in which the spatial restrictions and density of the city adds a decidedly public character to much of life.
Most of your time, on average, is spent outside your home. You socialize in public places and because of the genial nature of eyes on the street and because no one drives anywhere, you can get drunk in public with little fear for life or limb.
Here it's very different. Life is more private for more people -- you can spend six months at Westhaven and never really go out, still be happy -- and for that do head out, the band of experience that really passes for "public" is somewhat narrower.
This creates an interesting situation for me. While I'm hardly a gadfly or a social-climber, I do enjoy the kind of energy and interactions that come from having a public profile. I'm also very much a newbie, and finding the right scene in which to see and be seen is on my TODO list for sure.
Anyway, more gozo later. Just thought it was an interesting and revealing turn of phrase.