In many a post I have come down strongly, viciously almost, against the suburbs. I have punched at them good and hard and I stand firm in my conviction that they lack soul.
But we are at the cusp of real-time spring and the cusp of spring does not, visually, bring out the best in cities, even small cities such as Madison.
I walk home from work and I am hungry to find a pleasing announcement of the season. No such luck. I see porches with student couches, I see signs that perpetually announce the transient nature of the housing around the university: Fall rentals available. There are always fall rentals available. No one stays more than a year before roommate hatred or school completion forces a move.
I want what every other long term downtown resident wants – stability. And property care. And yet, if all buildings around me put on a fresh face and started to call themsleves townhouse condos, I’d freak. And move on.
And so today I walk home, loving the warmth of the air, loving my light jacket, the absence of gloves, the light breezes… all good. And what’s this? Two blocks from my loft I come across an intersection which is abuzz with activity. Young people, fixing things, painting doors, chatting excitedly… I am at the corner that once housed the Polish meats and foods place.
That sad looking place closed some months back, soon after I moved downtown. The new, young people working on scraping and painting explain that it’s going to be a flower shop. Cool! With a catering and special events emphasis. Oh. But still very much a walk-in place. Super cool. I think. Obviously this freshly painted spiffy place will not have a dilapidated porch with last century’s furniture on it. Or an ancient Coke machine dispensing overpriced fizzy stuff at the side. But will it have soul?