Sunday, May 16, 2004

There is some area, deep in the reptilian part of the brain, perhaps, that contains the route to your high school best friend's house. I have no sense of direction (the number of times I've missed the exit for downtown and ended up turning around in the parking lot of the Fifth Ward Baptist Church: unknown) and the area around here has grown so much that every time I come back a new subdivision has risen up and the landmarks changed, but somehow I instinctually navigated my way to the house where I had so many slumber parties and gossip sessions. She's a schoolteacher now, though, and we've grown apart. We spent a significant portion of time talking about where people are now (scattered to the winds), what they are doing (so many promising individuals burned out and underemployed), and then talking past each other about our present lives and their cast of unfamiliar characters. I'm not sure how I feel about the evening. It made me melancholy.

Driving around today made me more alienated. I used to be from a small town outside Houston, but now it's a huge suburban sprawl of concrete and shopping centers. I am not a New Urbanist, but it still makes me sad when I hardly recognize the place where I grew up and the field where my father took me to shoot off fireworks is now a Burger King and a car wash.

I do love driving, though. I almost took my Ipod with me, until I remembered that people in the rest of the country have another way of listening to music on their way somewhere: the radio. Zooming across the mercifully smooth highways and being able to count on finding free parking when you get somewhere is wonderful. I'll miss that, even if I don't miss the rest. D.C. isn't so bad for cars, I suppose, but I don't have one. Alas.

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