mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yes, I know my 'hood is boring. I like it that way...

I had a group project for a class that finally ended yesterday. My group spent lots of time working on stuff, and thus talked to each other about our lives and the like. At one point, one of my group members commented that her boyfriend wanted them to move to White Marsh. She said White Marsh in the same tone of voice one would use as if he asked her to hump a goat. When I commented that I lived in White Marsh, she said "no offense, but I consider anything North of the city to be dead."

Which is true. That's why I moved to the 'burbs. I like dead. My neigborhood is pretty quiet - it's got screaming kids and my next door neigbors are drunk college students, but for the most part it's quiet and drama free. It's middle america with a touch of white trash. It's three blocks from a mall and 4 blocks from a Target. It's townhouses and split levels with neat siding and pickup trucks and minvans outside parked next to newly-cut lawns. As someone who grew up in Central New Jersey, it's home.

I lived in Resevoir Hill for 3 years. I was a couple blocks from "culture" - the annual artscape festival, the Lyric Opera House, the symphony hall. I never went to any of these places. For me (especially then, when I was working 6 days a week plus part time grad school), home was mostly a place I slept.

And there is another reason that I really like the 'burbs. Parking. Sure, some people would consider that this is a sign that we are attached to our cars, slaves to our motorized machines, that I would actually choose where to live based on parking. And maybe they are right. But to me, a car is freedom. It's the ability to go where I want when I want. And that's not something you can do if you live in the city. Between the general lack of parking spaces and street cleaning restrictions, there were times where I had to not go places I wanted to go because I knew it would be difficult to find a place to park when I got back. Now, I have a space with my house number on it. I can roll home at midnight on a night I had to stay late for a class project, and it's there, and empty, and I never have to move for street cleaning or come home to a ticket on the windshield.

Last week, I went to Federal Hill with BSOM - he had bought a couple things off of craigslist from people there, and I figured if he was going that way I'd go with him and stop by the Goodwill down there. It was actually a really nice neigborhood- nice, well restored houses. There was also a ton of cute girls everywhere - jogging, walking dogs - and a bunch of trendy bars. I found myself wondering if I'd made a mistake. I could have lived in a historic building surrounded by cute girls.

But I don't think I did. Aside from the fact that I doubt I could afford any of those houses, there are good reasons not to buy a house there. And not just the lack of parking. Old houses have more stuff that breaks and costs more to fix. City property taxes are about twice the county tax rate, and city services aren't known for their high quality. City neigborhoods also tend to go up and down way more often and quicker than suburban ones. And as nice as it would be to see cute girls all the time, it's not like I'm the kind of person who is going to walk up them and introduce myself -and if I did, they would probably mace me. Sure, there are cool bars - but I don't really go to bars. I don't hang out with people who regularly drink, and the rare occasions I go to bars I end up hanging out with the same people - it's not like I would start hitting on the cute chicks.

So I think I'm fine with living in the "dead" part of Maryland. And I don't think it's so dead - I'm 10 minutes away from Parkville (home of racer's cafe, one the best beer bars around) and 15 minutes away from Hamilton, which are basically Hamden (a trendy but trashy section of central Baltimore city) with bigger lawns. And I'm less than a half hour from Downtown, if I ever wanted to go there for some reason. There are also a surprising number of good restraunts in the area - I was introduced to a great Thai/Chinese resturant that makes amazing Pad Thai, despite being located in an aging shopping center next to a Mars.

And did I mention I have my own parking space? With my house number on it and everything? And it's extra-wide, so my drunken college student neigbor won't ding my truck with his Sentra.


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