Get Off My Lawn

Grass has been outlawed.

Well, not actually, but where I live, you would think the local government has made it illegal for grass to grow here, instead it has all been covered in concrete, and new buildings. I live in a suburb, that not many years ago was all farmland. I’ve worked with folks that have told me what it was like in the area back in the day. Big roads, that see hundreds of thousands of daily cars used to be cattle paths, and dirt roads.

I’ve only lived in the area for the last six years, and I can tell you that in the time I’ve been here, I’ve seen large tracts of field converted into office buildings, apartments, strip malls, self-storage places, and more restaurants then you could imagine. In the time I’ve been here, it’s been depressing ot me to see nature swallowed up the way it has, and then I think about the folks that grew up in the area. How many of them are happy to see what was a very small town, turn into a bustling urban carnival? I wonder too, how many are saddened by whats become of the place they grew up.

Years ago, I used to travel from Cleveland to Chicago several times a week for work over a three month period. Sometimes I’d fly in the night before, so I could get an early start in the morning, and I remember looking out of the plane window, and seeing downtown Chicago just completely lit up, and then, in very obvious grid patterns, the lights below defined the sprawl of the city. I remember thinking ‘There wasn’t enough room for all those people to live in Chicago, so they spread out.’ and it just seemed like that sprawl went on forever. On the other hand, flying in to Cleveland at night, was pitch black ot the north, as Lake Erie stretched north to Canada, but in all other locations, the amount of light below paled in comparison to Chicago. You didn’t have to see the lights fade into the rural areas.

I believe current-day Dallas is the same, or worse than the Chicago of those years ago. I know that I have driven in all directions away from Dallas, and even without the ridiculous amount of traffic (which, for the record is the worst I have ever experienced in my life.) it would take a minimum of 30-40 minutes at highway speeds before you would see pastures, farms, and nature. If you work in, or around Dallas, you HAVE to live in a heavily populated area, or you’ll have to drive at least 90 minutes in each direction to and from work. I work 20 miles from where I live and it takes me an hour in each direction.

Is it worth the drive people here make daily? For me, no. I am researching other places in the country to move to, My family is not tied to the area, so we can move wherever we’d like to go. I realize not everyone shares that luxury. But all these other people, are they okay with those insane drive times? It seems that the majority are fine with it, I just can’t imagine people dealing with this traffic ,and these long commutes daily, just to get back to a concrete-covered magnet for ways to separate you from your money.

At the end of the day, all of this construction, that hides what used to be beautiful pastures and farmland, is intended to lure you into spending your money. How many restaurants do you really need in a square mile? How many Starbucks are needed in the same space? How many Big Box stores does a town need? How many gas stations? All of these businesses play on our collective laziness, because let’s face it, who wants to cook dinner after spending several hours in traffic every day? Who wants to drive 10 more minutes to get to the store? Who wants to keep their vehicle filled up, when you can just drive to the corner and gas up instead?

Local government will do nothing to curb the insanity, because more people, and more businesses equals more taxes. And money rules the world, right up until the time it becomes utterly useless.

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