There are fundamental differences between mountains and skyscrapers.
You can drive up a mountain road with your little sister in the carseat next to you, and The Little Mermaid on tape blaring out of the stereo, and your mother screaming at your father from the passengers’ seat, I swear to God David, just ask for the fucking directions. You can stand on top of a mountain with a pretty boy, and you can tell lies to one another while the moon paints his face a blinding white. You can climb a mountain in the dark after four shots of raspberry Smirnoff (don’t worry, you can use your cell phone as a flashlight). You can sit on the edge of a mountain, dangling your feet over a man-made reservoir, and you can whisper secrets to the sky—you can rest assured that only the stars will hear them. And even from an endless stretch of highway, or an open, empty field, or the window of a yellow-painted bedroom, you can see the tip of a mountain, majestic and familiar.
It’s difficult to locate the top of a skyscraper. You squint into the sun, but at around fifty feet it all begins to blur, and the top simply becomes “up.” You ask yourself: when I’m at the top, will I recognize it? All I know are these wonderfully dirty sidewalks and these icy elevator conversations and the bass pounding through my veins. All I know is this little black dress. It’s a whirlwind, where you have skyscrapers— a whirlwind of yellow taxis and high heels and congested air and electricity. Occasionally, a skyscraper will overwhelm you. You’ll find yourself surrounded by strangers and hopelessly alone, without a clue what floor you’re on, or how to get up or down, so you’ll wish, quite briefly, for a stretch of highway, or an open, empty field. But then you’ll look out a window and see all the rooftops, and the tiny people in their tiny cars, and you’ll realize that you’re farther up than you’ve ever been. You’ll let out a surprised, yet triumphant laugh. Where you have skyscrapers, you have a hiccup of clarity, because you don’t miss those mountains, anyway. You’re taller here.
You can’t compare mountains and skyscrapers, really. They’re two separate states, Colorado and New York—two separate and particular states of existence.