Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Please Move Here

I've been kicking around a text on why it's so wonderful to live in my neighborhood for months now. In between starting the thought process and finally writing it, I traveled to some exotic destinations in order to preempt anyone rebutting me with, "Dude, you've lived in four distinct places that you actually remember so get off of that soapbox and put your pants back on." Fair enough, numerous and vociferous detractors? You chased me from my perfect little country, you bastards. You'll get yours, with walnuts on top.

I live in Arlington; more specifically I live in Nearlington (as opposed to Farlington, which is basically any part of the county in which you can't walk to the Metro, an ATM, and a bar within ten minutes of leaving your doorstep) and around the Courthouse Metro. I'm of the opinion that any point in Nearlington is equivocal to any other point, but I'm discovering this is because I'm willing to ride my bike everywhere. People who walk tend to differentiate by Metro stations.

I think you should move here. Why haven't you? It's expensive, yes, and you can have a comparatively gigantic apartment/house/manse/plantation a little farther out. Perhaps you prefer the more urban feel of actually living in DC and I can assume that you're the sort of person who appreciates walkability, occasional street crime, and not ever having to vote for president again.

Yes, rent here is pricey and I won't pretend that gas is so expensive that I'm breaking even on not driving my car. I won't make that argument because it's akin to people pointing out that hybrid cars aren't cost effective. That thing patting you on the back for being able to do math? It's a starving polar bear. They pat before they kill. I saw it on NOVA.

This afternoon I ran a disparate set of errands that would have taken miles of driving back in my exurb days. I managed to drop off a package, get my car's tags renewed, get my bike fixed, and have two hours of Arabic tutoring within the same three blocks. Earlier this summer I was able to look in three different stores for a backpack for dogs (it goes on the dog, the dog doesn't go in the backpack) before I found the right size and color. This was within a two block area and I wasn't in the dog backpack district.

When my dingy, sketchy-until-you-get-to-know-it bar closed down to make room for yet more condos, there was another, albeit smaller, version right up the street. I had dinner there tonight; hamburger, a pint of bourbon stout, A Canticle for Leibowitz to read, and a seat by the window to watch the joggers go by while I partook of my pickle. Only the absence of my wife made it less than ideal, but she was having dinner with one of her academic mentors. However, last night she got off the metro starving and wobbly from spinning class and we met in our Chinese restaurant just like one of those fancy city couples.

It's possible to run into people you know on the street; hell, I nearly ran down my nemesis L(ee) H(ummer) on my bike half an hour ago. The parentheses are due to the fact that I already know that he googles himself often and he hasn't put my face to this blog yet. I don't want to step off the Metro and find him standing covered in stickers and nothing else, waiting for me to make my move.

The neighborhood is losing some of the independent places that make it so nice, but the real estate slump seems to have put some hesitancy in those who would knock down some civic memory for a couple hundred more unsold condos. It remains to be seen how much longer that will last. Perhaps the Metro will shoot up Lee Highway for a new wacky line and I can look for places closer to the new stops and the German bakery.

Please move here; I feel like people don't have neighborhoods anymore and it leads to focusing the room on the television, only traveling while surrounded in steel and glass, being afraid of other people, and ultimately voting Republican.