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Brian Evankovich

Living in a Crowded World
By Brian Evankovich
Nov 3, 2003 - 8:24:00 AM

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There are too many people in this country and most of them are annoying.

Want proof? A recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, for the second year in a row, says people in the Golden State would rather live in a nice home with a nice yard than the other option: a small condo or townhouse. And people like driving to work - alone. NOT in carpools.

Granted, this study focuses on California, but I think it also reflects the attitude of the rest of the country. We have more people in the U.S. now than 30 years ago, so it's not hard to see why the survey turned out the way it did. We're stuffed, crowded, pushed, and prodded into narrow freeways, small offices, small cars; crowded at grocery stores, malls, movie theaters. Then those who live in a townhouse or condo get further crammed into a small space where everything they do or the neighbors do - from a loud stereo to loud sex - is heard through the walls.

As for carpooling, there's nothing worse. You can't think about things or listen to the radio or even enjoy the drive because the others in the car want to chatter about bad dates and burned dinners and annoying parents and irritating bosses. They tell you not to drive so fast, that they should use their car next time, that the last guy they drove with had gastrointestinal problems. Gee, thanks for all the detail.

I like driving alone because it's the only time I have to be alone, because when I return home at the end of the day I have to put up with roommates who only talk about bad dates and burned dinners and annoying parents and irritating bosses.

I think those who took part in the PPIC's survey felt the same.

You'd never believe it by looking around, though. I live in a small portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, and I can't spit without hitting a construction crew that's building an apartment complex or a condo complex, taking up all the nice open space; the homes are also being snapped up just as fast as they can be built, but it may have more to do with people needing to live near work than what they imagined owning when they earned their degrees. When I gaze out on the horizon, in one of my often reflective moods, instead of seeing rolling, grassy hills in the distance, I see hills with homes sprouting up like ... weeds, or some wildly mutated act of nature. It's a wonderful sight, really - what I always dreamed of seeing every single day. The homes are nice, and I guess the main selling point is a convenient commute to the office.

Too bad about the hills, though.


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