Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Other Side

Have I ever talked to you about Pleasantville? I saw the movie shortly after coming to Columbia and it seemed at the time to be a description of our suburban existence. In particular, for a long time I thought that Little Patuxent Parkway was like this:

Geography lessons at the local high school are limited to subjects like "Main Street" and "Elm Street" because the world literally ends at the city limits. Space twists back upon itself in Pleasantville, and "the end of Main Street is just the beginning again." (Roger Ebert)

As a newcomer to Columbia it seemed that LPP evaporated into Route 175 and then went towards an extremely unfamiliar place called Jessup that was very unColumbia-like. At the time I hadn't been there,  And at the other end it reached the hospital, and then, as far as I knew, just turned back on itself like Pleasantville. It was all a mystery to me. (I may have told you already that my husband got me my first cell phone because I got lost almost every time I drove anywhere in Columbia.)

There was a long learning curve to getting to know the lay of the land here. Possibly because of all the, well, curves.

Unbelievably I have now been here eighteen years. I know where many of the roads go. It's a good feeling. When your goal is to get somewhere on time experiencing the joy of discovery is not particularly helpful. On the other hand, there is still plenty I don't know should I wish to go exploring.

All of this is to share with you a question I have been pondering. It applies to Columbia in my case, but it could apply to anyone in Howard County. What is "the other side of town" to you? What if someone suggests going to a particular place and you protest, "but that's on the other side of town!"

It's really rather silly because Columbia isn't so huge that it can't be traversed in a reasonable time frame, but I suspect that many of us have this mental construct of what is too far for a regular trip. For instance, I live in Oakland Mills. I like Trader Joe's, but I don't go there regularly because it's on the other side of town. I'm more likely to shop there if also have errands I need to run at Lowe's, Best Buy, or Five Below as well.

So, what's your "other side of town"? Do you have one?

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