• Published 26th Jul 2015
  • 10,650 Views, 4,220 Comments

The Things Tavi Says - shortskirtsandexplosions

Let me tell you a few things about my roommate, Octavia. After all, she saved my life.

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Urban Things

Author's Note:

There's something incredibly relaxing about a city as it transitions into dusk...

At least for me...

Maretropolises are fickle, unpredictable things. They're filled with so much life, and yet are capable of much danger, dinginess, and filth. For every sparkly sight, there's a foul smell. For every bright light, a shady corner. The mix of delight and danger is part of the allure, I'm sure, but there's something more to it that draws me. It's hard to explain, which is why I don't bother much. Not like there'd even be a point in trying.

The way I feel about cities is how I suspect most ponies feel about me—or DJ-P0N3, to be more precise. The surfaces are blank, monochrome, and bedazzled with flashing lights. That's not to say that every district mimics the flare of Las Pegasus, but Sacramentoats has its own aesthetically-pleasing areas.

Like this courtyard that I'm traversing, situated around a narrow lake. The water's shallow, barely lapping up to the beams of the boardwalk that spans it. Obviously, this thing was artificially made, carved out of the earth and planted—like a foreign tree—just to attract attention to the retailers and businesses all lined up around it. It's as fake as fake can be, but I don't mind. It takes a city to turn artifice into something beautiful, and this place positively shines.

One by one—with the advent of night—the storefronts light up. Billboards hum with electric juice, attracting moths and flitting things to their buzzing bulbs. Neon bands flicker one after another, bathing concrete and asphalt with a spectral kaleidoscope of advertising. A line of shops at the base of the hotel where Beau and I are staying leave their doors wide open, teasing strollers and passerby's with delicious jets of air-conditioning. Somewhere, a cafe nestled deep in the urban framework churns its greasy way into the dinner hour, and the smell of fried foods wafts through the air, chasing off the ever-present whiff of mildew and moisture clinging to looming building faces.

And all around me, this city is alive. It's just as much awake and festive as it was during the day, only now—as darkness is cascading all around us—the bodies of ponies are somehow more noticeable, appearing and disappearing like spectral apparitions beneath the sporadic spotlights of lampposts.

This is a safe part of the city, for which I am thankful. Families gather here, both rich and poor. On one side of the artificial lake, there's the hotel district. On the other side? A series of apartments are stacked up on one another—and none of them too lavish. The ponies who dwell there likely make a living off of blue collar wagon work and factory labor. And yet, as the atmosphere cools and the flickering lights fill moist air with mirth, equines both wealthy and humble come here to mix—even if they're not here to mingle.

I see families huddled on the concrete steps of a desolate ampitheatre dangling on the lip of the lake. Ponies jogging in circles pause to smile and converse with familiar faces. I see foals chasing each other across sidewalks and grass lawn. A group of fillies play four-square on the concrete panels. Off in the distance, within earshot of a group of elders chatting over neighborhood gossip, an old stallion squats with a long pole, fishing for a bite that will never come, basking in the lazy blue malaise of the waters lapping before him.

There's music crackling through various speakers attached to the lampposts closest to the hotel. Even if the looping mix of decade-old pop songs could be heard, I'm oblivious to it. A salvo of deep bass synthesized sounds massage my ears as I shuffle along, and my hooves trot in time to the slouching beat. The neon lights glint off my shades, and I spot many eyes darting my way—if even for the briefest of moments. I have become a glint off the windows of these looming skyscrapers, a walking billboard, a brief flicker of color advertising nothing—everything—and then vanishing once again. That's how I know that the city has become me, and I have become it. We are all part of the same organism, engulfed in our sterile facade, but carrying so much warmth and equinity deep within ourselves, like tight egg-shaped spheres ready to burst.

As I shuffle counter-clockwise around the park, I see several young ponies who have already exploded. They gather in droves by the edge of the courtyard, a flat cardboard shingle and a boombox lying nearby as—one by one—they engage in a heated dance off. The air fills with laughter, cheers, jeers, and cat calls. Gladiators rise and fall, and battle is joined again. I give the teenage group a smile and shuffle on. Years ago, I would have lingered around something like this. I bet many ponies suspect it'd be criminal for DJ-P0N3 not to stop and observe. It's just that I've seen it all before. In a way, it lives inside me, the spark, the joyous sense of artistic competition and expressiveness and daring.

I've just learned to channel it into something deeper, heartier, and far more concentrated than anything I've grasped before. And when I'm far away from home, and a long distance from the purple streams that lull me into a place of focus and contentment, my only recourse is to cycle myself through the arteries of a living organism such as this city... and recharge. And one cannot do that standing still.

So, the beat goes on... as my hooves go on. I allow the synthesized movements to roll through me, wringing fresh new concepts out of my mind, encasing them in iron-tight bands colored with the sights, smells, and smiles populating the nightly vista around me. I have a tour to do, three sessions in a row starting tomorrow. But I needn't stress about that right now.

The city is a flashy concert all on its own. It's my turn to be the audience.

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