Wanted: Medium to small town. Must have sidewalks and people who use them regularly. Public transportation desired, would consider extensive bike lanes if climate permits. Oceanside village preferred, or perhaps town with a river running through the center. Many well used parks a requirement. Ideal applicant would have a variety of houses of religion, including Zen Buddhist temple. Diverse population is highly desired; would like to hear a variety of languages spoken when in public establishments. Towns that support intolerance will not be considered. Well-stocked public library with no less than a 100 book maximum check out policy will be expected. Large art museum, science center, zoo and planetarium needed.
Every six months or so, I get the itch to move. Not just to another house, but to another state. Michigan is undeniably beautiful, but I want to live by a large body of water. At least within hearing and walking distance. Second requirement: ability to complete most daily errands without driving a car. I’m willing to walk, bike or take a train. I’m flexible in regards to climate, though I prefer something mild.
Most important is the citizenry of my fantasy town. I want diversity. I don’t want to go to my kid’s soccer game and look out onto a sea of mom-clones, all sporting identical light brown hair with blonde highlights. I want to hear accents, see women wearing saris. I don’t want to feel out of place because I’m not a Christian. I don’t want brown skin to be an unusual sight.
I have been thinking a lot about community lately. When I was a child, it seemed as if everyone in my town knew who I was. I couldn’t have gotten into trouble if I wanted to. As an adult, that feeling of community has been very hard to find. My dirtbag sisters both fled the state, and don’t seem to be planning on having children anytime soon, so the aunt/cousin connection is, literally, distant. My kids can’t go to New York or North Carolina for the weekend, you know? My brother lives in Utah, again too far to be part of our community. Family, yes, double yes and always. But it’s not that constant family connection that was so comforting to me as a child. I spent uncountable weekends at my Aunts’ homes. I could walk to my Grandma’s house.
I have spent much time and energy building a community that I truly enjoy and appreciate, but there’s something missing: proximity. Here’s my solution: everyone I know must move into my neighborhood. Our kids can walk to each others’ houses. If my son is mad at me, he can hang out with you. If your daughter needs to get away from the house for a little while, she can come here. So, come friends, come family, come homeschooling crew. Let’s have a block party. I’ll make the mojitos.