Let Me Count The Ways

Today is DoesThisParkaMakeMyButtLookBig's 100th post!  It's a good thing you aren't here to see my happy dance, because despite the scientific advances of the 21st century, you still can't erase something like that from your memory, even if you desperately want to.  It's better this way.


At this particular time of year, there are some things that I miss about our old neighborhood.  

I miss scampering through the local corn maze with my sister, cackling loudly as we race through the crisp fall air and trick small, rosy-faced children into marching down dead ends. I yearn for my kitchen, with its sharp knives, miraculous dishwasher and double sink.  Here, when I load the sink with dirty dishes and greasy pans, I don’t have a second bowl to fill my coffeepot in, and rearranging the mountains of glass and knives is like a kitchen version of running the gauntlet  – one of these days, I am going to reach in, flail about, and emerge not with ten fingers, but with two fists of what appears to be ground meat.  I long for the vegetable stand a mile up the road, with its locally-made ginger and eggnog ice creams and perfectly inspired cherry tomatoes that almost never lasted the 3-minute drive home.  I crave a yoga class, a match with my volleyball team, my washer and dryer, and the company of my parents.   I even sort of miss the way the local McDonald’s employees recognized my face as I drove through for yet another vanilla ice cream cone.  I’d try not to frequent the same franchise more than once per day, but there were times when I cared less about my reputation and more for my craving.  They probably had a nickname for me, and rightfully so.  

But despite the wonder of NPR, wireless internet, and comprehensive fitness centers, there are also a few things that I don’t miss.  For example, I don’t miss traffic.  For you friends who doubt the existence of traffic in the neighborhood, boy do I have news for you.  I can identify between 40 and 50% of the vehicles driven in our current town.  The other half is made up of either Canadians or logging trucks.  The last time I had to stop behind a car was about a week ago.  It was on the 3-mile dirt road to camp, and was because we all knew each other and were stopping to have a chat. 


I also don’t miss shopping.  C and I have developed a very brief retail half-life, which seems ironic since before the move, I worked in that industry.  Perhaps it was always this way, but I suspect that making our direct purchases almost exclusively at convenience and grocery stores for the last nine months has exacerbated our impatience.  The only exception I make to the above statement is that I have retained an insatiable love for shopping with my sister, which categorically falls somewhere between Halloween-costume hunting and raiding a candy store, and is perhaps better known as the eternal quest for the most revolting frock.

Lastly, among the things that I have gladly left behind me are traffic circles.  If you believe in such a place, I am convinced that these, friends, are what Limbo is made of: circle after badly engineered circle of misery and anguish and panic.  I dread them.  There is a special, particularly abysmal roundabout near our old house that was recently re-designed, which means that they decided after a dozen years or more to abruptly change the traffic pattern.  I completely agree with the decision, because the vehicle interactions were backwards and inside out for years (inside out, I tell you!), but this is exactly the problem with traffic circles: there seems to be no universal way of constructing them.  Another loop I know of has two lanes – two lanes­ – something that simply cannot produce a safe or predictable traffic pattern.  I am certain that a preschooler somewhere took red crayon and drew a set of fiery concentric circles, then crammed the paper into her city planner/mommy’s briefcase, only for it to slide out onto the office floor and get pushed through approval and funding by some recently-promoted department intern.  It's particularly infuriating considering that the circles were probably drawn to be a giant apple, or maybe Buzz Lightyear.  Bottom line: a two-lane roundabout is ridiculous

Just try to get out of this inside circle without reaching for your Paxil.  Kiss your sanity goodbye. 

Mercifully, I haven’t driven in a circle in months, hardly ever see a stoplight, and buy my gifts online.  This softens the blow of not being able to watch my sister kill a bag of 75%-off Halloween candy or nosh on my mom’s salsa while listening to Simon & Garfunkel with Dad at the dining room table.  It’s is a good thing, because life without the joy of those two events has the potential to really bring me down. 

But no traffic circle Limbo?  This just might be worth it.  

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