Blogathon for SSA: Living in a Neighborhood


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.

I talk a lot about my neighborhood, and all the things I love about it. I talk about the food, and the street art, and the fashion, and the food again.

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!

Comments

  1. Karin Haselbach says

    Picking up on the side issue of cord chewing cats… how about protecting the cord with some kind of garden hose or something similar from the Home Depot? Cut lengthwise, put in cord, close with some gaffa tape. Of course, that would be only for stationary “home” cords, not the ones you carry with you. Just an idea. Anyway… I’m looking forward to the next kitteh picture :)

  2. Greta Christina says

    Curious. 10 oclock in a post with a timestamp of 1 am?

    lcaution @ #1: For some reason, my blog hosting software timestamps everything in Eastern time.

  3. alwaysanswerb says

    I feel you on the “neighborhoods” thing. I haven’t really lived in a proper neighborhood since I was growing up with my parents. Where I live now is constructed like a neighborhood, home-wise, but there isn’t a lot immediately around it. I have a walkable grocery store and a walkable cheap taco stand, but nearly everything else needs to be driven or bussed to. It doesn’t really help that I’m in an apartment, and that my neighborhood isn’t what is traditionally considered “safe,” either. Otherwise I may be outside a bit more.

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