What I Want for Christmas…For My City
I am not a Nashville hater. I’m a native.
So as with family members, I get to rant about my beloved’s scars, flaws, and idiocies, as long as I initiate the critique with the requisite blessing of the heart. (You people from flawless places like NYC and Seattle and Toronto—you do not get to talk about my city or my mama like that. Just so you know.)
With that said, here’s a Christmas wish list for my hometown, bless its heart:
1. A little love for pedestrians – Nice try with the painted crosswalks and “State Law-Yield for Pedestrians” signs on 12South. Now if the SUVs en route to Brentwood would just stop driving over them.
2. A little love for cyclists – Some @$$hole in a truck actually bumped his rear-view mirror into my friend Dave G’s back while Dave was riding in 12South. On purpose. An extreme example, but representative of the contempt with which some drivers seem to regard folks riding bikes up in here. Which may be a first-cousin to the reason we’re one of the fattest regions on the planet.
3. Real Chinese Food – What is that glazed orange $#!^ that passes for Chinese food on buffet steam tables all over the South? And what happened to Lucky Bamboo, the one place in town that was trying to produce passable dim sum? I concur with the New Yorkers on this one: this town is a Chinese food desert.
4. A real ramen joint – Or better yet, 4 or 5—each obsessively perfecting just one thing, one style of broth, one type of noodle. Tsukemen style with dipping broth, shoyu broths, cold summer ramen—bring it! (I know, this one is pie-in-the-sky.)
5. Public transportation – I rode the MTA bus to high school every morning. I haven’t boarded one since, and neither does anybody I know unless they have to. For some reason, there seems to be a cultural assumption here that if you ride public transport, you have failed as a person.
I like cities with good public transport, because mass transit seems to encourage walking and human interaction, and to discourage low-density sprawl and drunk driving. I know we have no chance at getting a subway, but now, apparently, even the streetcar idea is dead. <sigh> At least my daily commute constitutes a stroll across the backyard.
Wish list honorable mention: Public schools we can be proud of, Russian and/or Georgian restaurants, a kick-@$$ farmer’s market, wine for sale in grocery stores, wine for sale on Sundays, religion absent from local and state legislative agendas, elimination of stupid laws regarding alcohol sales in restaurants, smarter and wiser local politicians, bike lanes everywhere, bullet trains to New Orleans and Chicago, inspired use of Nashville’s riverfront property, and a local bookstore/literary mecca like Powell’s or the Tattered Cover.
Related post: Journeys: NYC Underground
Related post: Let’s hope the bookstore wish is coming true.