Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Sense of Neighborhood

Northern Virginia, where I reside, is known for being very transient because many of its residents are in the military. Most residents complain that it is hard to have a sense of community when people are being transferred frequently or move out with the change in presidential administration. When I resided in northern Virginia from 1991 to 1999, I found this to be true. But my return to the area in 2005 has given me a sense of community that I've never had before.

While Starbucks has been criticized for its exploitation of coffee growers and putting independent coffee houses out of business, for suburban neighborhoods where I reside, it is perhaps the only place where neighbors can gather and get acquainted.

Every Saturday about ten of my neighbors gather between 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., drink coffee or tea, and talk stuff. Sports usually dominate the conversation, because the men out number the women. But because most of my neighbors are current or recently retired military, our conversations also range from shopping in Dubai to the genocide in Rwanda. In addition to most of my neighbors being well traveled, they are also avid readers.

From meeting in Starbucks, we have migrated to each others' homes for football parties, Thanksgiving dinner, and wine tastings. While Starbucks may not be the ideal corporation, it has provided a much needed meeting place at a time when public spaces are becoming less available.

3 comments:

Johnny said...

Great blog! Just as coffee is addicting, our Saturday get-togethers are addicting; of course they are more theraputic in nature. I'm looking forward to your scrumptious, mouth-watering, toes wiggling carrot cake on Super Bowl Sunday. What about some short-ribs..lol

M. L. Simms said...

Okay, Johnny, that's going to have to be a really good carrot cake.

M. L. Simms said...

I did not see the comments about short ribs. I didn't think that you ate beef, Johnny!