Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She wears high heels when she exercises

Every now and again, while I'm tooling around at home or in the car, for no particular reason, I am struck by the fact that we live in Richmond. Virginia. We live in Richmond, Virginia. It's like when you repeat a word over and over and over again until it starts to sound like it's not really a word at all. I was driving back from my fiddle lesson tonight, and on the way back over the bridge I saw the whole city laid out next to the water, lights on in the dusk (coming earlier and earlier now, alas), and was struck, once again, by the weirdness of the fact of where we live. Not that the city of Richmond itself is weird, but that we, our family, have ended up here, of all the places in the world. I was riding along in the car with the windows down, looking at the lights, wind blowing through my hair, saying over and over again, "We live in Richmond, Virginia. We live in Richmond, Virginia."

We are getting more and more settled in as time goes by, of course, but I am struck by the differences between here and many other places we have lived.

In Princeton, the streets are all named after trees - Walnut Lane, Maple Street. They cut down the trees and then name the streets after them. In Boston, the streets are all named after either presidents - Adams, Washington - or again, some landscape feature that was despoiled when the street was created - Granite, Quarry, etc. Here in Richmond, although you also get the trees and the presidents, they also name the streets after the Native American tribes they stole the land from - Matoaca, Kanawha, Seneca.

We have a highway called the Powhite Parkway, for which our running joke is that that's where the po' white folks live. What also screws me up is when there's a street name that is exactly the same as one from a place we've lived previously - there's a Commonwealth Avenue right near our house, and every time I drive by I think of Boston.

(Fun fact from the Useless Trivia Girl: I have now lived in three of the four states in the Union that are actually Commonwealths, not states - Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Can anyone name the fourth? No fair Googling...)

We are also lacking in good radio stations here in Richmond. There is one independent station and one college station from the University of Richmond...and that's about it. The rest are either generic classic rock (I can only listen to Free's "All Right Now" so many times, thank you), aggro "nu-rock" alternative stations that play crap like Staind and Adema, or those robot stations that advertise themselves as playing anything, but which are really a pre-programmed list of stuff, some good and some very, very bad. We end up streaming a lot of KCRW and WXPN on our internet radio at home, but in the car you're basically screwed. Thank you, 6-CD changer.

Here, a "VT" sticker on someone's car doesn't mean Vermont, it means Virginia Tech. "LAX" doesn't mean Los Angeles International Airport, it means lacrosse. "OBX" is outer banks. I thought a lot of people here were New Orleans Saints fans until I realized that that sticker on their cars is also representative of two of the local private schools' mascots, also called the Saints.

Nothing opens before 10 am on Sundays. Except the churches, of course. We tried to go out for brunch one Sunday, showed up at the restaurant at 9:25, saw the sign on the door and turned around and went home for cold cereal. Nolan will not wait 35 minutes at a restaurant, no way, no how.

So we're adjusting. Some times I feel that we are definitely finding our way and becoming part of the community, and then sometimes...not so much.

Thanks for reading.

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