My friend called during our New Year’s Eve revelries to let me know I was the winner of the haiku contest at our local Hippie Hot Spot. If you don’t have such a place, you need to go find one, right after you finish this post. The Irvington Wellness Center quickly became one of our favorite places to visit when we moved to the East side.
The truly funny thing is that, when my husband and I were looking to buy our first house, we told our realtor, “We don’t have a strong preference for any particular part of town–as long as it’s not on the East side!” Lucky for us, my awesome friend (same who called above) was born and bred on the East side and changed my tune. Turns out, our perceptions of “the East side” really referred to a few rough neighborhoods smattered around. One problem I’ve made my peace with: when you choose big city living, “good” and “sketchy” neighborhoods can be pretty closely interspersed until you get waay out into some named City Suburbs. But don’t get me started on urban sprawl–that’s another day’s rant.
Back to topic: this is the first time in my life, including growing up in a smaller town (pop 60K) that I’ve really enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a neighborhood. We don’t technically live in Irvington, but since we’re a five minute drive to the main drag (counting the ridiculously long traffic light at the end of our street), I claim it.
What’s so great about it? Well, aside from living the childhood dream of that Sesame Street experience, here’s a few reasons: ironically, as part of a community, you become more of an individual. People recognize you, even if they don’t know you. Also, maybe this is just me, but there’s a sense of responsibility for your community. You see trash on your street? You pick it up.
The kids feel like celebrities when we walk down the street on a nice day and run into people we know. Seriously, I’m not really a chatter, but we stopped for forty minutes one day to talk with a lady from our church. The day the kids and I went to drop off my haiku, we ran into my friend (same friend, but I swear I do have more than one) in the parking lot. Library story time means that now we wave to Mr. Joe every time we visit. We have a communal sense of “our” pizza place, “our” brewery, “our” gift shop, “our” wellness center.
Simply said, it’s awesome.
Anyway, what the heck does any of this have to do with Josie Junebug, world’s best dog? Well, thanks for hanging in there with me. My winning haiku was about her. Enjoy.
Babe with four foot reach
and wood chipper for a mouth
Dear Lord, help us all!
Do you write haiku?
Please leave one in the comments.
Are people out there?