Saturday, November 11, 2006

Vive St. Louis!

I really do love living in St. Louis. I live in St. Louis City. Shaw, to be precise. St. Louis's neighborhoods are distinct entities with well-defined borders, which is pretty cool. However, I'm not from St. Louis, I was raised in rural West Virginia. Yes, rural West Virginia. I say this because I've found that most of the people I know who live in St. Louis proper are also not from St. Louis, or even the St. Louis area. Like me, they were raised in rural America.

Over the past seven years I've lived here, I've learned that there's some sort of stigma felt by native "St. Louisans" against living in the actual city. It totally caught me by suprise when I first moved here, because I had no idea that when you live in the city, you're not actually supposed to live in the city. Nobody told me.

My neighbors are from places like northern Mississippi, southwest Missouri, northern Pennsylvania, northern Utah, etc. Rural places. I guess nobody told them either. It's an interesting phenomena. As it turns out, the most fervent proponents of City Living in St. Louis that I know of were raised in rural environments (not suburbs). It seems to me that most "St. Louisans" take pride in saying they're from St. Louis, but only about 1% of the people I work with actually live in the city. About 1 in 100. Most people live about 30 minutes from Downtown, or more. Why would you want to live so far from where you work?

The City of St. Louis is a great place to live. It has some of the most unique and beautiful buildings - both commercial and residential - in all of America. The natives generally don't appreciate that. These houses are relatively inexpensive, to boot. Why someone would want to live out in the 'burbs, in a house with hollow doors, vinyl siding, and that cheap 1" wide painted wood trim, when they could be living in a solid brick house with solid core doors, stained glass, hardwood floors, and real oak and pine wood trim, for the same price or less, and be much closer to work, is totally beyond me.

Living in St. Louis has made me firmly believe that supporting the city, any city, is a great way to preserve the environment. Urban sprawl is a sickening waste of green space. Sure, everyone wants to live in their own private Idaho. They stretch infrastructure out into the prairie, or the [insert sensitive ecosystem here], and then complain about the cost of gas, and traffic, and taxes. Man, get a clue. If more people had the notion to make America's urban areas strong, safe, and vibrant places to live, imagine the money - and scenery - we could save.

I'm not saying every city should be like Tokyo. There's definately a point where you can have overcrowding. However, the endless fields of McMansions sprouting up across the plains and valleys is just atrocious.

This coming from a person who loves and respects the American landscape too much to block the view with cheap vinyl siding, and stacks of gables.

Another thing about urban sprawl that irritates the shit out of me is how people who live in suburbs like to consider themselves simple country folk. Ok, just because you own a pickup truck, and you actually do live in the country, does not make you simple country folk. Dude, we all know that truck has never seen more than an inch of mud, and the number of times you actually used it to haul something definately does not justify the cost of owning it. I know you want to be a simple, manly man, in an ever-increasingly complex world, but get real. Owning a pickup truck doesn't make you a man. Independent thought, integrity, and wisdom are what make you a man.

Sorry this turned into a rant about suburbanism, but it did, and I'm not taking it back.


Keep Moving said...

Finally, I can access to your blog again^_^ I have seen the pics took by Gump, and your house is really nice.

Digitizdat said...

Thanks, Jarod! You are welcome to come to St. Louis and check it out yourself sometime.