18 September 2006

Relative Directions

Chris will tell you that I navigate the world by shopping malls and it's mostly true. I can generally only tell you which direction is North if I can coordinate in my head where I am with the brass and tile compass inlaid in the foyer floor of my junior high school which, even when I'm trolling around WNY, is pretty darned tough to do. I can sniff out a mall almost anywhere, though, and if I've been to one once, I can tell you where other stuff is relative to it. We lived in our last house for seven years and I could barely get in and out of town (although I could find the hat shop blindfolded). I've done very well with directions around this house because, I think, for all our deer and trees, we're just over a mile from the mall.

So you see, malls are a necessary part of life for me - and not just because they offer many fine ways for me to engage my shopping hobby. Still, I was distressed to learn that someone is mounting a plan to build a strip mall near our library. Who cares that he might put in a Starbucks that might open in time for me to get coffee before the train (the mall one isn't open until 7:30)? It would screw up traffic. It would draw even more people to this end of town, driving at top speed around our badly paved roads in search of a "shortcut". Plus, there's already a dreary strip mall around the corner from the proposed new location - if they want to add shops, they should clean up the one we already have.

Chris bored himself silly at the Township Planning Board meeting tonight (possibly out of a sense of civic duty but probably because he was shocked that I'd oppose a mall), to hear the real story. At the meeting, he was accused of being a reporter, a sycophant, and a mole planted in support of one of the lawyers (an accusation immediately declaimed by the lawyer). Toward the end of the meeting, after everyone else not seated on the plinth or attempting to win favor from those on high had left and it was readily apparent that nothing of substance would actually come out of the meeting, Chris was asked to ring in on the matters at hand...which had come down to the particulars of a Township Zoning Ordinance. Caught a bit off guard, he introduced himself as a concerned resident of the Township and gave a brief summary of his thoughts, which can be roughly translated to, "Since this is the only property in the Township of this Zoning Classification, and there is a proposal out to re-zone this property, it is a waste of all your time to argue over how to rewrite the ordinance of the current Zoning Classification." He did not add, "And my wife, Queen of All, thinks the strip mall idea is ludicrous," which I would have put in on my own behalf if I'd been the one to go to the meeting. Then again, he had that whole flatterer image to keep up...

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