So.As most of the people I know at Emerson College have heard by now, I am from the middle of a desert known as Palmdale, California. With a population of 156,000, spread thin over 104 flat square miles, and temperatures that reach over 110 degrees in the summer, my city is, uh... Quite a hoot. My sheer excitement to have emerged from this desolate "city" has led me to bring it up more than its fair share of times in conversation.
|I know about 155,999 people that still think this stuff is a myth.|
2) Different states seem to exist here.
Since California is abnormally large, and I am from an area no one really drives multiple hours to visit, I am very accustomed to the "number-letter-letter-letter-number-number-number" California license plates. It is crazy to remember how small states on the east coast really are! In Jamaica Plain, I was finding license plates from more states than I could keep track of.
|Number-number-number-letter-letter-number?? MY LIFE IS A LIE.|
|To be completely honest, sometimes I forgot that Virginia was a state. Sorry, Virginians.|
|I love the nice decorative border New Yorkers get on their license plates. California put|
so much effort into our license plates, that they gave us cursive red writing. It's okay to be jealous.
3) The color green.
Akin to my awareness of the state of Virginia, I forgot that nature possesses this color known as "green". This bush in someone's yard in the dead of winter most likely holds more pigment than the whole of the bushes I encountered while living in Palmdale.
|Just feels so... exotic, doesn't it? Stupendous.|
And don't even get me STARTED on the trees. They were everywhere. Back home, we had to plant those suckers and hope the sprinklers would keep working. Here, they just kind of grow. I was baffled. Jamaica Plain felt a little like a forest to me.
|An example of the wild thickets I encountered on my journey. Jamaica Plain is dangerous...|
You could lose children around trees like these.
4) The houses don't all look the same.
Palmdale is not a city I would particularly classify as having a unique "character", per se. In essence, every house in my neighborhood is a variation of 3 different floor plans, cookie-cuttered onto cul-de-sacs to give every housing tract a nice, creepy, deja-vu atmosphere. While walking down Burrough Street to Jamaica Pond, however, I didn't see a single house that was a replication of another. They all had their own personality. The Palmdalian architects could really take a hint from places like Jamaica Plain.
|Palmdale does not believe in porches. Jamaica Plain believes in porches.|
Jamaica Plain - 1
Palmdale - 0
|This house has a porch AND a tree. And about 49 windows. Such pizzazz!|
Jamaica Plain - 2
Palmdale - 0
|Color variation?! Say it ain't so! Palmdale thinks that its citizens moved to a city with so|
much brown, that they must want more of it; and thus, every house is brown. Thanks, JP,
for using your color wheel.
Jamaica Plain - 3
Palmdale - 0
|What is this, an airplane runway?!? This driveway is like its own little street! Jamaica Plain|
even does it's best to make the cars feel comfortable. I feel safe in proclaiming a winner.
Jamaica Plain - 4 (and counting)
Palmdale - 0
5) This sign.
6) People walking places.
Despite Palmdale's large population, everyone is spread out so thinly that it's nearly impossible to live in an area where everything you need is accessible by walking. At best, you will see people biking around the city, but walkers are virtually non-existent. The occasional "hi" I got from passers-by on the street of Jamaica Plain reminded me that human interaction is actually normal.
|I didn't even have to Photoshop them into the picture. They were just there.|
7) This hat.
|Perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence I found in JP's favor.|
If you had any doubts about Jamaica Plain's "cool factor" prior to this... You're welcome.
I may have begun by saying I was pointing out differences... Yet it seems, in fact, that maybe I was only finding what I believed were improvements. Nonetheless, without continually bashing my hometown, Jamaica Plain was filled with wonderful surprises and welcome differences from the place where I grew up.
If anything, I guess I discovered that so much of what you see is dependent on perspective.
...and I also relearned the existence of variety, nature, atmosphere, love, and Virginia. But that may be besides the point.