Today while driving down the street, I found the perfect blogging topic. Small towns tend to do things their own way, and though I really enjoy the town I live in, it has its quirks, too.
First, a few years ago the town was growing very quickly. Growth was so malignant that you'd have to camp out (literally) the night before a builder released new lots for sale in order to get a chance at a good one. (We had our realtor do that for us since we were still living out of state in 2001.) At that time, when all the streets were first plotted, some genius figured it would be a great idea to use only a handful of street names. Where streets ended in cul-de-sacs and such, and then continued at approximately the same position further down, they decided to use the same names. Thus, there are about 4-5 different neighborhoods in our town where the same street name can be found. Hello, people! Who came up with that one?!
So if you don't know which neighborhood you should be looking in, it's very easy to get lost, even in our little town of less than 10,000 folks. Just go google "Echo St" and you'll see what I mean. It's like the town planners had a conversation and concluded that there were no more good names available, so they had to make the most of the totally great names they'd already managed to call dibs on. Perhaps no one was brave enough to stand up and remind the planners at the time that normal people don't all know cross-street numbering like (6000 block vs the 7000 block, etc) the fire department and police. Since none of our streets in the newer side of town are permitted to have numbers, how would we know this unless we're OCD like me?
At the other end of the spectrum is our neighboring town...
First, a little background. Our two towns run into each other in multiple places and are all the same congruent area. If not for the "Now Entering Lovelyland" signs, you wouldn't know you're in a different town. Lovelyland town planners had a conversation a few years ago and concluded that, in order to preserve their independence and chicness, they needed unique street names. So, all the county roads (usually noted by numbers, like CR-11) thus needed to be renamed to more suburban names like Lovely Blvd. It makes the town more lovely, you see. The thing is, my town did the same thing about 5 years prior; WITH THE SAME STREETS! And so, thanks to all the suburban planners out there, we now have a county road known by its number, my town's name (Birch Street), and Lovelyland's name (Silver Birch Street). COME ON, PEOPLE! Does the same road really need 3 different names in under a 5 mile stretch? Is it really worth the expense of re-signing all the roads, and forcing homeowners to notify everyone of their new addresses? Why not just all use the same name?
This is a great example of the ridiculous waste that we see everywhere. I can sort of see why they wanted to rename the county roads and give them more suburban-like titles. Sort of. It makes us suburbanites feel more special. But for each town do it its own way is simply stupid. Now Google Maps will get lost, my GPS will get lost, and the few friends I do have will get lost whenever they feel sorry for me and decide to come visit.
I forgot to mention my rant about our post office with all this. If 3 street names weren't enough, we also have 2 zip codes. HERE'S YOUR SIGN, I say to all you government types. Turns out I need a zip code assigned from the next city over because the only mail officially in our towns is rural route delivery to PO boxes and not home delivered (dating from before the building boom in 2000). All the automated systems out there (like when you buy something online), thus, think we live in Longmont, about 7 miles away, because I'm forced to use their zip code. I've had dozens of arguments with vendors over the years about where I actually live, as though I'm not bright enough to answer that question reliably without legal assistance. The post office, however, is unwilling to do anything about it because all the home-delivered mail out here comes from Longmont. Thus, they say, we should all have a Longmont zip code, even if we live officially in another municipality. Smart, eh?! Do you think I--or anyone else who doesn't work for USPS--really cares one iota from whence our mail is delivered, so long as it gets to its destination? I think we care lots more about the mail actually getting to us. Instead, we have to deal with mail getting lost because someone used the wrong zip code, nearly 10 years after all the houses popped up in suburbia. The postmaster, in his zeal to make his point, will return mail addressed with the wrong zip code, despite the fact that the entire facility knows EXACTLY where that mail should be delivered. So we are stuck with giving one zip code to the UPS man, and another to the USPS letters. Not like it's the 21st century or anything.
And you thought the economic woes were what got our country in trouble...
(In case you haven't noticed, I'm writing all of this with a big grin on my face. Nothing too serious. Despite the silly small-town antics, I really do enjoy living here. It's just fun to have something trivial to complain about. Better than having big stuff to complain about. Keeps it fun and fresh.)