Close up, one wonders how the pioneers ever crossed the Rockies, Greenland is obviously harsh and cold, and you can see the snarled traffic around Trafalgar.
From a distance — a long one — one might confuse me for George Clooney.
Well, maybe not.
But certainly, the point is that we suspect from afar that things might be better than they are. Our neighbors seem to be happier and better off than we are. Those people — the ones over there — appear to have things under control.
Of course, it is difficult to see the black roots and warts from 100 feet. It is also hard to see the struggles of downtown Pleasanton merchants from the Altamont.
Thus, we imagine that things out there are better than they are right here.
People seem to love carping about the familiar and well-known around them. It is so easy to see what is not so hot in our lives. It also is too easy to be blind about the same defects in cities, homes, and folks far away.
I was recently interviewed by a Sacramento television station. The reporter asked if I liked Sacramento or Tracy better. He knew I grew up in Sacramento. Indeed, I like our state capital a good deal, as it used to be home. It is not anymore.
My answer might have surprised him, as he did not seem overwhelmed by our city. I, on the other hand, like Tracy best.
This is not to say that Sacramento is bad. But, blemishes and all, Tracy is where I know I’m home. Sacramento seems like a nice place, but it is not where I belong.
When we are far, far away from Tracy, I realize that this town is where I feel in the right place.
Much of the time, however, Tracy is so close that I can see all of the challenges, warts and fractures.
Being in the midst of it, the flaws are quite evident. I can tell you what is wrong with my neighborhood, my friends and even my family.
I still like them best.
As near as things are, failings and all, this is the only place where I have a right to point out the flaws and forgive them at the same time.
When you love someone, they are nearly perfect. So is your home town, when you care enough about it.
It matters not that you are close enough to see the imperfections and wrinkles. What matters is that you don’t care about them. Relationships are what are important.
Now, if I could only feel the same about the man in the mirror. Seems like the closer I get, the older he becomes.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or emailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.