When I was a kid I never remember dreaming of growing up and living on a cul-de-sac in the middle of nowhere. My dreams were much bigger…frequenting the night time talk show circuit, famous for no reason, rich, beauteous, and so forth. Fast forward twenty years and now I realize life is not about endless adoration. My life is about living on a cul-de-sac in the middle of nowhere.
Now I don’t want to get too deep, or philosophical here (although I can’t help that as it was my major in college, which might also be why I don’t live the life I’d imagined I would as a kid). However, in contrast to what the great Forrest Gump mused so many years ago, life is not like a box of chocolates. When you live on a cul-de-sac, you’ll always know what you’re going to get. From the same cars that drive by at the same time every day, to the same kids that come to your door to sell the same candy for the same school whale watching trip to see the same whales, to the same guy who mows his lawn in a tiny Speedo swimsuit and over-sized ear protectors for noise reduction. The sun comes up and the sun goes down and a new Groundhog Day begins.
Now, I realize I’m very fortunate to live in a community that is a safe place for kids to grow up. Don’t get me wrong. However, I lived for many years in New York City and the transition from the Big Apple to the middle of a cow pasture (the Big Crapple?) has been rocky at times.
Most days I try to ignore the fact that my town might very well be sponsored by Walmart. The new Walmart Super Center is the largest structure to loom over our valley, and might well be the largest in the state (insert a little home town pride here!). And, it is where you’ll bump into your neighbors and see what they’re up to by what they’re putting into their cart. “Still have that problem with ear wax?” or “No luck yet with toilet training junior?” A town with no privacy. But we don’t have much else for entertainment.
The town itself is so quiet, that I swear every word I utter is hitting the aisles of Walmart within the hour. For a while there I tried to speak softer, but I soon realized I couldn’t do that for the rest of my life. It’s unnatural and might lead to high blood pressure, ulcers or facial tics. Eventually, I surrendered and now fully accept that my life is an open book to most of my street, the surrounding school district, and regional dairy farms. We finally found our place. Somewhere between the Groundhog Day predictability of the Ear Protector and Speedo-Wearing Lawnmower Man, and the Candy-Selling Whale-Watching Kids is our family…the Loudest Family on the Cul-de-Sac.