And I love my neighborhood. We went out for dinner tonight to celebrate the completion of my first ever book manuscript. I had a hankering for pasta with fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, so we went to Anna Maria, which used to be a short walk from home but now is a short drive away. They haven't got a kids' menu, but they can make whatever you order (Ben wanted pasta with alfredo on one side, marinara on the other. And the desserts! Mr. Tangerine always gets the tiramisu, but was too full to finish it tonight. Ben and I shared the bomba al cioccolata, a blissfully light and airy, warm and moist square of cake, swimming in bittersweet chocolate sauce, with a dollop of whipped cream. It was all we could do not to lick the plate clean.
I love the area we live in because we're sequestered amid a zillion great restaurants, precious few of them part of mega-chains. Would have to drive a good 10 miles to the closest Olive Garden, but there are over a dozen Italian indies within a couple miles of us.
And I love the neighborhood because while we were at the restaurant tonight, there were five other tables with kids (this, at a place where the cheapest pasta dish costs $10.50). Three of the six families were of mixed races. One of the families had two dads. I like that none of these groups stick out as "other" here.
Sure, the city's noisy and congested, and snow turns black from exhaust along the roadway (although: hooray for it being 44 degrees on a late-December evening with no snow on the ground!), and real estate's small and pricy. But I wouldn't trade it for clean, peaceful, spacious homogeneity. I find homogeneity discomfiting.