Tuesday, May 12, 2009

how do we define the places we live in?

Route 198 in Burtonsville.

When I was in high school, everyone from Burtonsville said they lived in a “small town,” while everyone from White Oak was said they were from “the ghetto,” regardless of if either place really fit that mold. These kinds of perceptions shape our communities – how we see them, how we talk about them and how we look at them in hindsight. (Remember that The Wonder Years was basically set in a very young, suburbanizing White Oak.)

An easy way to see how people see “place” is go to on Urban Dictionary. You can tell most of the entries are written by high school kids (hence the poor spelling, profanity and references to parties and drugs) but they’re very telling. Some examples of places in East County:

Silver Spring
- " . . . known for it's bad traffic, true-to-their-home students, late night drag racing on University Boulevard . . . and great girls who know how to combine great athletic abilities and good looks into one. "
- "A place where the party starts late and ends early the next day. Where the nights are memoriable and the friends are true. No place like $$...."
- "the only place where u can drive 5 minutes one way and go into a rural area and 5 minutes the other way and go into a city"

- "A small town in Maryland that everyone mistakes as a 'hick' town, when really, it's not 'hick' at all. No one knows where Burtonsville is unless they live there . . . Nothing happens in Burtonsville. All the kids in Burtonsville have to go to Columbia or Rockville or Bethesda to find stuff to do."
- "Females originating from Burtonsville, Maryland who know where and how to have a good time . . . Can frequently be found in either the Burtonsville Shopping Center, McDonald's or Burtonsville Crossing's parking lots deciding where the best party will be at that night or drunk at Paint Branch's football and basketball games."

- "A place where the rich are richer and the poor are swept under the rug. The young drink easily available liquor from flasks kept in their Coach bags. The old ignore such behaviors as they toke up with the nieghbors."
- "A suburb of D.C. where you can find Potomac and Wheaton types in the same 5 mile radius. . . . We also serve as the last civilized stop before the wilderness that is Howard County. "
- "olney is a place where people live in there own little world and have there own views of rich and poor and usually stay in olney throughout their lives"

so much more AFTER THE JUMP . . .

Four Corners
"An area in Silver Spring which is the intersection of University Boulevard and Colesville Road. Don't mess, it is freakin' badass. Known for it's superiority to Olney and cool kids that live there."

"A small place, known as a town, right outside bethesda. it includes a 'skate park,' one good restraunt (you know which one im talking about), and the cheapest gas for miles. It is a hassle to get to anywhere important from kensington because it is so small. also known as: 'k-town' 'right outside DC' and 'where?'"

Aspen Hill
"The little town of Maryland (in MoCO) that is known for absolutely nothing. Oh, except for many of the 2002 sniper shootings being there. It's in between Wheaton, Rockville and Olney, and has the characteristics of all of those places, but mostly Wheaton. There's not a lot to do, but hey."

Takoma Park
". . . is a fuckin SWEET hippy town. lots of TREES!, chill spots, parks, and blaaazers young and old. a place where you can walk to all your friends houses, smoke on every street, and enjoy the environment."

Langley Park
"A town in maryland whos heart is on university blvd, and new hampshire ave . . . The lil salvador/lil mexico/lil honduras/lil guatemala of the metropolitan area. prolly more inhabited by latinos then their home countries. Oh and u cant forget about the tick-tock"


hockeypunk said...

is the one good restaurant in kensington continental?

Thomas Hardman said...

Heh, Kensington.

The one really good thing about Kensington is that it's almost exactly the way is was 40 years ago. If you knew of a good repair shop or plumbing-supply store, or lithography or prototyping place, the chances are that it's still there and still in pretty much the same business.

And Need I Mention TW Perry (sp?) the hardware and raw-materials heaven.

And as for Aspen Hill, for some reason we got totally invaded by, of all people, the freakin' Yanomamo.

I think that there are probably more of them living here in Aspen Hill than there are left back in Venezuela/Brazil. So just like that one guy calls Langley Park "lil salvador/lil mexico/lil honduras/lil guatemala of the metropolitan area. prolly more inhabited by latinos then their home countries", or we could call Arlandria VA "nuevo Chirilagua", we could maybe call Aspen Hill "lil Puerto Ayachuco".

But don't pay too much attention to this, most of that was written by the same people who did the Facebook group "You know you're from Montgomery County when..."

He points out that at some highschools in Potomac, the collective value of all of the vehicles in the parking lot probably exceeds the sum value of the school and grounds.

Cyndy said...

My mother would die if she knew her old house is now considered to be in the "ghetto." We used to live in Kensington and it hasn't changed much although there is still quite a bit that is different. One thing that hasn't changed in probably 50 years or more is mizell lumber.

Thomas Hardman said...

Yeah baybee, District 4 is more than a bit ghetto in many parts,, and in many other parts, getting to be ghetto where it never before was the least bit ghetto.

That's how the politicians planned it -- maybe Dan can revisit the whole issue of concentrating poverty in Briggs Chaney through zoning regulations -- and that's how they like it, because poor people don't bother to research the issues, the candidates, or the history. They almost always vote for whoever is most dedicated to keeping them in poverty.

And that's why they are unlikely to ever vote for me.