A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. -Oscar Wilde

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where do we go now but nowhere

I enjoy schmaltz as much as the next person (perhaps a bit more, as I'm a casual connoisseur of camp), but the parade of It's a Wonderful Life and Peanuts and Miracle on 34th Street and Holiday Inn can become so much taffy stuck in my teeth. I so very wish there was more of this (sadly, a complete video doesn't appear to exist on the internets).

In less than two hours is my final final of the semester. Finance. I think I'm at the stage where additional cramming won't make a difference, but I'm still nervous. I think I've learned enough to know to hire an accountant, much like my health law class has taught me to know enough to hire a lawyer.

With just a few months to go until graduation, I wonder where I'm going to go. DC-Baltimore seems the natural fit, but I'm looking at a few positions focusing on state-level policies that would be a little further abroad, a little less urban. And.. well, maybe that's not so bad.

I've been torn between the convenience of an urban center and various cultural accoutrements. I love museums, I love access to the ballet and symphony, and so on. Easy access to diverse cuisines and ingredients, well-funded libraries that don't suffer as much as suburban and rural libraries (yes, I know that lately that's not true, at least in good old PA), all somewhat key to my happiness with my present home. But I also want space. I want room to grow things. I want a greenhouse. I want to take in some poor abandoned critters, maybe have a goat or a sheep or an alpaca. Obviously not terribly compatible with urban living. And don't get me started on how every damn building needs to be torn down in the name of "upscale" development. Gentrification is just as bad as urban blight, perhaps even more so.

I generally abhor the suburbs. Urban sprawl, with its islands of strip malls afloat in segmented seas of paring lots alternating with clumps of cookie-cutter McMansions crammed onto tiny lots so that your neighbor can see in your windows and admire the exotic Brazilian hardwood flooring (let's not get started on how horrifying that concept is, actively supporting deforestation) and Subzero appliances in kitchens that rarely see actual cooking? My personal version of hell, thank you very much. And here we also see that codeword "upscale" pop up again and again. I really don't care for that word. Perhaps part of it is a relic of growing up poor, but I just don't see how exclusion based on money is such a great thing.

That leaves the country. Generally speaking, I know that I'm an odd duck politically and philosophically speaking and even more so compared to people in rural areas, but perhaps there's enough space between neighbors for that to not be a problem. The notions of having room for a few critters, to experiment with gardening, and not dealing with other people is so very appealing. A comfy house with room for guests, a big kitchen, an airy studio, a greenhouse, a big garden full of useful and aesthetically pleasing plants, a passel of cats and a dog or two... I can almost see it now. Maybe in a few years. A few more years of cramped apartments furnished in hand-me-downs and Ikea, and maybe then I'll have made a dent in my student loans and acquired enough experience to pick and choose a job rather than grab on to any position I can find.


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