Friday, March 27, 2009

where is everyone?

This is just a random thought I had tonight.
I've had similar thoughts before, so it's not new or anything, but every now and then it strikes me.
So tonight, I was driving home from work. It's a drive I've made almost every week morning and every weeknight through a semi-small town. It has a main street that has maybe 5 businesses on it, the rest is about 8-10 blocks of houses.
Going too work, There is a section of main street that is off the main highway, and the speed limit is 35 mph. I'd say it's about average. It even goes past the local high school (there's a sign that says if kids are around then the speed limit is 25mph.) But 35 is "comfortable. Sure, on few mornings when I'm running late, I might push it up to 40, but I usually try to go the speed limit.
Now almost half way from the highway, to my office there is a creek with a little bridge over it. This (I think?) marks the township line... but more importantly, it marks a 10mph speed drop. It goes from 35 down to 25. It's only about 4-5 blocks, but it's SO tedious to go 25! Especially when I'm running late in the morning.
Tonight, I was driving home, and there's that little sign of relief - thank goodness, I'm outta that 25mph zone and can go back up to 35. I pondered... WHY? is it 25mph for that part of town, and 35mph for this part of town? I thought... usually every township picks 25 in a "residential" area. you know in case there are kids around... and that's when it hit me. I've been driving this same route day after day, and for the most part, I never see ANYONE outside. Sure, there is the occasional jogger, or woman walking her dog, or occasionally some teens, but trust me they are few and far between.
It always amazes me how a "small town" can feel so deserted. We live in our houses (and apartments) and might occasionally go outside when we have to (yard work, take the garbage out, etc,) but for the most part, I have no idea who lives in the neighborhood where I work. It's kinda creepy.
Now... In all fairness, I personally am a stay at home person. So, 'maybe' if I got out more, I'd see more, but I don't think so. People have somehow moved from a social interaction to preferring to stay home.
Related...(or not)... I recently rented a series of documentaries about the Great Depression. Actually, I'm not sure how to describe the dvd. It's called "Our Daily Bread" (imdb here). It was a movie filmed in 1934 and was about a couple who got an opportunity to run a farm. The husband was out of work for a length of time (As were many others since it was the great depression.) so an uncle offered them the farm to live on, and IF they could make a go of it they were welcome to stay there. Without giving away too much of the plot, the farm attracts many others to help out. maybe 50 or more famlies and couples from all walks of life. The movie shows how they build a community. I couldn't help to think... if this were today... there is NO way this idea would have worked. People don't trust one another, they don't want to help one another, the don't want to work for a common goal or common good. It seems to be every person for themselves.

Well, I've wandered down this trail in my story, and now I don't know where it's lead me, nor do I know where to go from here. Sorry to have taken you down this path as well.
I guess what I'm saying is... go outside.

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