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Dim lights, big city

Niall Ferguson

By Niall Ferguson (original source The Boston Globe)

“My mother and I rarely disagree. Last Christmas, however, we got into an argument about where she should live.

Me: Living in this little Oxfordshire village is not giving you enough stimulation. You should move to London. Think of how much easier it would be to go to the theater and to art galleries.

Her: No, no. I am very happy here. In London, I would need to have a smaller place, whereas here I have my garden.

Me: But soon the garden will be too much work for you. Some of my elderly friends in the United States opted to retire to New York precisely because they didn’t need so much space. And it’s in the nature of a big city that you get to see more people.

Her: I don’t want to see more people.

She won the argument, needless to say — and thank God she did. I wake up at night in a cold sweat, imagining where we would be now if (for the first time in her life) she had given in to me and moved to London shortly after that conversation. For nothing could have illustrated with more shocking clarity the perils of big city life — especially for someone in her 80s — than the coronavirus pandemic.”

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