Saturday, August 13, 2005

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Returned home a short while ago from an afternoon of research. Altogether it was a rather miserable affair since temperatures were in the mid 90s with high humidity and there I was in long pants and a long-sleeved shirt tromping around with a backpack loaded with fieldnotebooks, collection equipment, and assorted sampling gear. I made a mental note to acquire an undergrad assitant to do this sort of hands-on work. I would be on site, of course, perhaps to make sure they don't pass out from the heat as I monitor their progress through binoculars from the air conditioned Jeep.

One of the many benefits of graduate student status.

Not quite sure as to my plans this evening. May go over to a friend's house or I may just play my customary role of hermit and stay home. It will all probably depend on how much caffeine I can get into my system between now and when I have to decide.

Sometimes it's difficult to be a hermit given where I live. As soon as I step out of the apartment building I'm surrounded by the vibrancy of semi-urban life: two coffee shops within easy tossing distance of a Starbucks cup, restaurants, people coming and going, and so forth. In the two years I've lived here, I've made numerous acquaintances (coffee shop "regulars," and other neighborhood residents, etc.) and it's sometimes bothersome to have my comings and goings noted on an all too frequent basis. The population here isn't large enough to confer anonymity and it's also a favourite hangout (and residence) of many of my peers from the grad program and work, so it's like the whole "Cheers" thing: the neighborhood is a place where everyone knows your name, or at least your face.

The upside of this phemenon of familiarity is that it conveys a strong feel of community, a sense of belonging to something greater than just its ecclectic individual components. Over time you learn to recognize the coffee shop regulars and even the respective morning, afternoon, and evening "crowds" (which means that I'm probably there all too often), the regulars at whatever bar or restaurant on a given night, and even the few homeless people who make this neighborhood their "home." Altogether an interesting social phenomemon.

5 comments:

flnk31kbzb said...
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Jeep03 said...

Hmmm....that's the first time I've ever seen a "spam" post on a blogger comments page. How very odd.

wanting said...

My neighborhood is like that...except too many family arguments and such. I do watch out for my neighbors on both sides and they watch out for me...that's always good...

freddy said...

After a while, any place can get too small. I've thought about living in a new city for a little while now. I don't know how everyone knows my name... they must be writing things on bathroom stalls again. :)

Jeep03 said...

I've visited New York City once and that's pretty much enough for me. Of course we made the mistake of actually DRIVING around the city, which was probably the #1 factor contributing to the trauma of the visit. But I will admit that it was interesting nonetheless.