The Post-Industrial American Urban Hellscape is a dangerous place. It is dangerous not only for its lurking, JRPG random encounter style violence, but for its persistent psychic assaults on your mental faculties. Statistically speaking, the Urban Hellscape will kill you on the inside well before it kills you on the outside.
Having lived in the real-world counterparts of all three cities featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I believe myself qualified to write a brief survival guide on how to defend yourself both physically and mentally from the demonic horrors that await you in Urban Hellscape.
Let’s discuss the physical threats first. Much of this is common sense, but I recognize many college graduates who head to the Urban Hellscape for work led shelter existences for much of their life. Situational awareness is your best weapon. Don’t be a retard and stare at your iPhone while walking down the street at night. Always be on the lookout. Don’t hang out in your car or in parking lots/garages either. I shouldn’t even have to say this. You should always be on edge and feel slightly paranoid.
I’m not going to get specific, but there are certain demographics you should always avoid. Families, groups of girls, and East Asian tourists are not among the groups that you should avoid. I was walking with a friend in downtown Los Angeles once and I thought we were being followed. I entered the lobby of the nearest hotel and sat down at the bar for twenty minutes. It’s better to play it safe than risk getting shanked in the neck by your city’s latest brand of enrichment.
Don’t make eye contact with anyone on the street and don’t talk to anyone who tries to speak with you. They’re probably just selling their “fire” mixtape but I can already tell you it’s not as game-changing as Crank That (Soulja Boy) was back in 2007. Don’t be afraid to bitch out and cross the street if a particularly vibrant group of youths are approaching. They’ll probably yell something at you but at least you’ll still have your wallet. Make a point to always ignore homeless people.
As far as weapons go, they’re probably more trouble than they’re worth. Check your local laws and make your own decision. You’re not John Wick and you’re not going to gun fu a gang of miscreants who cause you trouble. Same goes with knives. Life isn’t an anime and you’ll probably end up dead or in prison. Be smart and avoid potential confrontations well before they occur.
Alcohol can be lethal in the Urban Hellscape. Don’t get smashed and wander around some area you don’t know. If you lose your group, go to a crowded bar and try to contact them on your phone. Borrow someone’s phone if yours is dead. Call an Uber and go home if all else fails. Generally, if a place is crowded it’s safe. I like to look up directions or use my phone inside bars or restaurants. Don’t do this in the middle of the street or at crosswalks.
If you’re aware of your surroundings, you can avoid most trouble before it even happens. However, the dangers of the Urban Hellscape do not end at mere physical threats. Your mind is under constant psychic siege by the lights, sounds, and inane bullshit that you encounter living in a city. Here’s how to maintain sanity.
Walk everywhere you can. If you live in a country with first world infrastructure, you’re not American and you can take public transit instead. Driving is the single most mind-numbing activity we are forced to do. I cannot expound upon my hatred of driving with language alone. You haven’t died on the inside until you’ve been stuck in traffic on the 405. Hire a driver if you’re rich or cryogenically freeze yourself until self-driving cars are an option.
Contrary to popular belief, cities aren’t all that exciting. You can go to bars in all their various forms and incarnations or eat at a restaurant. That’s about it for entertainment. If you like nature, your only option is walking in a park infested with homeless people and guys selling drugs. Your apartment should be your sanctuary. Use it to recharge and do things you find interesting. Don’t be lazy. Learn how to cook. You’ll save a lot of money and develop a fun and useful skill.
The Urban Hellscape can be crushingly lonely despite all of its colorful characters. Most people have pre-established social groups and you’re probably not getting into their circles. I haven’t figured this one out yet. Just don’t go on the Meetup app or something sad like that to find friends. Have a bit of pride in your solitude. There’s always your Internet friends, and barring that, calling your mother every weekend.
If you still care about dating in 2017, the Urban Hellscape will make sure you don’t get laid ever again. You can certainly try Tinder or nightclubs or whatever. Girls tend to be better looking in cities, but so do the guys. If you think you can compete with seven foot billionaire rock star investment bankers, you have another thing coming. You don’t really want a city girl for a wife anyways.
Work on your escape plan. Every year you stay in the Urban Hellscape is ten years off your life. I’ve run the numbers. Have a side-hustle going, preferably e-commerce, so you can become location independent. This is the dream. Once you have the money to live anywhere, get the hell out. You’re not going to miss the crime, the crowding, or the 9,999 different languages you hear on a daily basis. The lake house on Erie, the ranch in Montana, or the private island you’re saving up for will do wonders for your health.
The Urban Hellscape is a place to make money and nothing more. Nobody should live in these cities longer than necessary. Figure out what you need financially and plan an exit. You’re not going to raise a family here, and you’re not going to retire here either. Take a trip or two a year to a place you’d think you’d like to settle down. Claw your way out of the Urban Hellscape by any means necessary and make a move when you’re ready. Best of luck out there, Kings.