Sunday, October 24, 2004

Suburban Legend

Most of the time I actually don't mind living in overdeveloped suburbia. I love my house; my neighborhood is quiet, friendly, and ethnically diverse; my children will be able to walk to their grammar school.

On the way to the county library yesterday, my positive vibes about where we live got a jolt as we drove past two of the three farms in my town. These three farms are not just the only working farms in my town---they are also the only ones in the entire county, and they are all within about 2 miles of my house. Pretty cool, I thought, pointing out to Sean the horses at one farm and the sheep at another.

As we approached the library, though, the unseemly side of suburbia revealed itself. The library is located in an office/retail park, and it's right across from a half-empty shopping mall. Two of the four anchor stores have been closed, their husks sitting forlornly on a sea of blank asphalt. One of the stores had been built a few years ago and was unceremoniously closed after about a year and a half.

So we have the dying shopping mall here, and yet a few miles away (apparently in a far more promising neck of the woods), a new crop of stores is being erected. Thank goodness! If there's anything we need around here it's seven more Kohl's, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Target stores.

And thus my idealistic reverie was cut short. To top that off, Sean decided to practice almost every single maneuver in the toddler cliché handbook: running away from me, pulling books off of shelves, throwing the stuffed animals off the couch in the children's section, and lying down on the floor while we were checking our books out because I had had the temerity to stop him from running behind the counter.

I solaced myself by thinking that the large late fees I always wind up paying are helping the library to stave off a possible fiscal crisis brought on by short-sighted state budget cuts.