Friday, 23 September 2011

My Town

Business Week magazine went out and did a survey.  Arlington, my adopted town, was rated the second best town in America....by their standards.

I've been here for twenty months, and have come to note ten reasons why Arlington is so great.  So here's my list.

1.  Crime.  Sorry, but we don't have drive-by shootings, or bulk drug busts, or murders of she-males (like in Northeast DC).  On an average night.....there's a couple of cars stolen, and maybe maybe a dozen cars broken into.  Crazy nuts stabbing folks on the street?  No....simply doesn't happen.  Guys running around with butcher knives?  Nope.  Crazy meth'ed up folks?  Nope.  We just don't have that kind of population living here.

2.  The bad part of town.  Usually, when you arrive somewhere....like when I got to Kansas City for a training class....you get a map with two or three areas of town where you should never go.  I remember getting one of these maps for almost every town that I've lived in for the past thirty years.  Arlington?  Sorry, there just isn't any part of the town that I'd tell you to avoid....even after midnight.  You could walk from one end of Arlington to the other....at 2AM, and there's a 99.9 percent chance that nothing will ever happen to you.

3.  Lack of Hollywood types.  To be honest, most folks who live in Arlington...are middle-class Americans.  We have some famous reporters who work in DC.  We have some political folks who work in DC.  We have some lobbyists who work in DC.  But we just don't have Hollywood folks in Arlington.

4.  Public transportation.  My humble opinion is that fifty percent of the adults in Arlington will use either the bus or train at least once a week.  I would imagine that a quarter of the population absolutely depends on some type of public transportation.

5.  Political corruption.  Over my twenty months, I've yet to hear about any Arlington official being dragged into a corruption issue....unlike our DC buddies who get dragged up every six weeks for some problem.  In fact, most folks in Arlington can't even name a single political figure from our city, but we can name three corrupt DC city councilmen.  If a Arlington councilman had any favorite thing to harp on....it'd be bike trails or trolley cars.

6.  Bad cops.  Frankly, we don't have any.  DC cops average around a dozen cops a year who get arrested for something bad or illegal.  Arlington cops?  Nothing.

7.  Bad schools.  DC schools are often noted as some of the worst in America.  From Arlington?  We actually have a pretty serious record of 3-star and 4-star schools.

8.  Artsy stuff, multicultural stuff, and ethnic food.  Well....when I get out to the bus stop each morning....I find El Salvadorans, Japanese folks, some Germans, and occasionally a Russian or two.  Out on Columbia Pike....there are probably twenty ethnic restaurants within a three-mile area.  Art?  You kind of find most everywhere you go.....it may not be fancy, but it qualifies as art.

9.  An airport downtown.  Yeah, it's kind of unusual, but we have the Ronald Reagan International Airport. You can jump off the METRO and run your bags through security within ten minutes, and get in line to deal with TSA.  I admit, there's nothing out of the airport going to LA, Vegas, or Denver....mostly because Congress wrote a funny rule that we had to be a short-to-medium range airport.  We are the only people in America who can deboard a plane at 9PM, get our bags, hop onto METRO, and ride the bus to our home in Arlington...to arrive by 10PM, without taking a taxi or having someone try to pick us up.

10.  We have four things that make Arlington famous.  The Pentagon is an obvious magnet.  The Iwo Jima Memorial brings in tens of thousands each month.  We honor our warriors at Arlington Cemetery.  When you pull out a map of Arlington....the cemetery is actually the big huge green area.  To be honest, it marks us in a unique way....that you can even observe from the outer fringes of the Earth.  We kind of feel proud about that.  And for those who might wonder about the most famous guy to ever come from Arlington?  Robert E. Lee....whose house still sits up on top of the hill overlooking Arlington Cemetery, the Potomac, Lincolns Memorial, and the heart of DC.  What shocks folks?  It's really a very modest house with only one real bedroom....even though it looks huge from the river.

So, to be honest, we aren't recruiting anyone to move here.  We really don't want to build onto Arlington.  And we've pretty much maxed on people per square mile.  But if you asked any of us....we all kinda like it here.  And certainly, it's a thousand times better than living in DC.