I’m home now. But I’ve been spending much of my Blogathon day in one of my local neighborhood cafes. It’d feel too cooped up to just be on the computer at home all day… and besides, I can only use the computer at home for about four hours at a stretch, since Comet consistently chews through any charger cord the minute I get it out. (She’s chewed through a total of three now. And yes, I tried putting that Bitter Yuck stuff on it. She sniffed it, and then took a ginormous bite. She loved it. She was like, “Hm — a touch bitter at first, but on reflection it adds a nice layer of complex piquancy to the computer cord, which is delicious but may be just a tad simplistic on its own.”)
Anyway. I’ve been working in one of my local neighborhood cafes all day. And in the few hours that I’ve been here, three different people that I know have walked by the cafe, and have stopped in to say Hi.
But honestly? I think the thing I love most about my neighborhood is that it is a neighborhood.
I love that almost everything I really need and want is in walking distance — and that it’s a pleasant, delightful walk. I love that when I walk in my neighborhood, I run into people I know. I love that some of the people I know in my neighborhood are friends, who I know from the usual “friends of friends” sources — and that some of them are merchants, barristas and clerks, cafe owners and donut mongers, people I’ve met because I live here and who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I love that, when the Giants won the World Series and we all poured out into the streets, Ingrid and I ran into the people who do our taxes.
I think neighborhoods are a little like locally grown and produced food: something that used to be a classic and even conservative piece of American life, and that are increasingly being swallowed by corporate monoculture. And I think this is sad. I think neighborhoods are neat. They shouldn’t belong to a handful of relatively privileged, middle-class urbanites. They should belong to everybody.
If there’s a moral of this story, I guess it’s this: Urban planning matters. Boring moral, I know. Hey, it’s ten at night at the end of a long blogathon day. What do you want from me, anyway?
This post is part of my blogathon for the Secular Student Alliance. Donate today!
I’ve posted some quotes talking about why the Secular Student Alliance is so awesome, and why they deserve your support. If you have a story or a comment about why the Secular Student Alliance is so awesome — post it in the comments, and I’ll post it in the blog! Along with kitten photos, of course. Support the SSA!