Okay, that’s probably a lie. My entire life I fantasized about getting the hell out of this town. I imagined myself in a loft, childless, writing and getting paid just enough to make ends meet. My goals were to be anywhere but this city. Then I became a pregnant teen and leaving this city wasn’t going to be in the plans anymore. As a parent and an adult, I see the appeal now. Relatively low crime, depending on where in the city you live. You live close enough to everything. Decent enough schools, especially when it comes to their special needs programs. You didn’t have to pay for trash and still technically don’t if you can manage to fit a week’s worth of trash in those obscenely small bins. (I can barely get away with not having extra in my recycling. Wonder when we’ll get charged for that too.) You get municipal electricity and now fiber, if you’re lucky to live in one of the areas that got it during the ridiculously slow roll out of the program. There were plenty of things to love about this place as an adult.
But I mean, there are plenty of things especially now that annoy me. I’m annoyed that half the time we can’t get out of our driveway because of illegally parked cars that cops just drive by and ignore, despite saying “we know there’s an issue, we just never see it.” I can’t have parking in front of my house because the apartment people hate their parking lot. Our city spends money and we end up facing tax increases because they are incompetent in how they spend their money. I mean, how much money was spent on an auditorium that they aren’t going to use anymore, but yeah let’s give them a raise during a pandemic when people are struggling, but don’t worry the raise won’t take into effect yet. Our teachers are working hard, to get insulted at every turn for how they did things during a pandemic. Who is standing up for them? I certainly don’t see a lot of public officials doing that.
It’s a city that sometimes I wonder if I even want to live in, though I know I’ll stay because it’s familiar and there are/were some benefits to it. But it doesn’t make me happy. Maybe it’s the neighborhood I picked, an affordable part of the Fairview-ish section so my oldest could stay in his current school district and because at the time my youngest would potentially need speech and autism services. So, I picked the same exact school district that my oldest went through because that elementary school is stellar. Many of my neighbors are great and aside from illegally parked cars as the bane of my existence and worrying about people coming over because they have to park halfway down the street to visit me, I like where I am. But I fantasize of something better. I only stay because the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. That shouldn’t be the only reason I stay here.
I wish that they cared more about the taxpayer and not the rich people that fund their campaigns. But, that’s politicians. They don’t care about the people who voted them there, only the money that got them there. I wish that when a cop car drives by a car parked on a yellow curb that they would stop and do something about it. I wish that I had more encounters with the cops that would make me feel safe/not fly into an anxiety attack about calling them when we can’t leave our driveway because cars are parked on both ends. I wish the teachers got praise for everything that they did this year. I would love the lunch staff to get so much praise for how they’ve stepped up/continue to step up in serving food to the community. Do something to honor them. Not do victory laps because you put up a pride flag during Pride Month or an autism flag for Autism Awareness Day. I’ve always thought mayors were nothing but people who loved photo ops, and I don’t think I’ve been proven wrong yet. Well, at least photo ops at private schools or events for people who support him. I don’t recall seeing our mayor pose for pictures in one of the public schools with students, though I would love to be wrong here. And I’m not counting graduations or one photo op outside of the preschool.
Most importantly, I think I wish that one day I could be proud of this city. Not want to laugh because we make the news for ridiculous things like being the worst Walmart on the planet or because our government officials spend a fortune on something that they won’t even use. Then, they will likely spend even more money for something else to replace it once we forget about our outrage. I don’t want to roll my eyes because we make the news for having an outdated charter that makes it impossible to remove city officials that have no place being in office still. I just want a city that I could be proud of.