I left the closest thing I had ever experienced to urban living to live in the suburb of a suburb.
You might be asking yourself, what exactly is the suburb of a suburb and I would be quick to tell you that I left Fresno’s Tower District and a great two story townhouse in the perfect location for a three bedroom house in a cul-de-sac. The word cul-de sac, coincidentally comes from the french and literally means the “arse of the bag” or dead end. Self respect in hand, I refuse to think of this move (which happened about three months ago) as a metaphor for my life, I mean after all, there was a purpose behind the move. My move to the suburbs was compelled by the purest of reasons, children.
With my two children soon to be nine and seven years old, I was sensing it was time for each of them to have their own rooms. It turns out that finding a three bedroom house with two bathrooms for rent in the heart of the Tower District is about as rare as finding a unicorn so we began to look elsewhere. We had early intentions of staying close truthfully, we thought if we could even ride our bicycles into Tower that it wouldn’t be much different than the two-minute walk to Olive & Wishon but who were we kidding? In the middle of our search for more space and a backyard, we came to the conclusion that if you lived even a mile outside of the Tower District it would be the same as 5-10 miles because it would more times than not mean using a car. As it turns out, it was that lie we told ourselves that caused us to move into the arse of the bag.
This particular dead end however, is west of 99 and just south of Shaw. It is a beautiful house actually. Newer construction, fancy amenities, and even a nice backyard. There quickly became one problem though, we now live on the other side of the world from where the rest of our lives are. Do you know what the funny thing is about Highway 99? Well the funny thing is it is basically a worthless highway if you live in Fresno, Sure, it’s great when you want to go anywhere outside of Fresno but from the dead end where I now live, that north-south piece of asphalt does me little good in getting most places I want to go. Especially if I want to head east into town. Five days a week, I drive 34 miles round trip to and from work. Now before those of you who have worked in big cities or travel far more miles than that tell me to calm down, you have to understand that I was used to a 6 mile commute one way and before moving over to my new job, Roeding Park was a little over a one mile commute. The morale of the story is I live a lot further from where I work and play.
Well that was a lot of bitching. Here is the thing, I badly miss the community that I felt I was a part of in the Tower District. I thought perhaps I would get used to the longer drives, that the amenities would make up for proximity or that even I would get used to the erie quiet around here. I have not. Even my two children miss the Tower District which was unexpected. My nearly nine year old asks all the time about when we might move back. He liked having people around and being able to walk to breakfast, dinner and when him and his sister had been good, hot chocolate. There is something special about that area of town and the vibe. Sure there are challenges and crime but I would argue that is happening everywhere. The Tower District it is most certainly the closest thing Fresno has currently to a vibrant downtown atmosphere with restaurants, bars and entertainment. I can’t wait to move back.
Until then, I will continue to live in our cul-de-sac, our little suburb of a suburb. I will try to keep the complaining to a minimum.