All the lonely people…

So, moving back to Houston isn’t exactly turning out as planned. We’re only 13 miles outside of Houston, but that’s enough to feel like we’re way out in the middle of nowhere. My commute has begun to be 45 minutes each way, routinely, because we live in one of the most rapidly expanding suburbs of Houston, and the roads won’t catch up with the growth for about five to ten years. There are literally four restaurants to choose from: Quizno’s, Johnny Carino’s, Chili’s, and The Grill/Jake’s Grill (I find them indistinguishable and therefore collapsible into one entry), plus generic fast food. The closest mall and/or shopping is 25 minutes away (sans traffic).

Perhaps the most dismal bit we’ve given up by moving here is that we know precisely no one here, besides coworkers (some of whom are crazy!) and family members. Any given night of the week in the Bay Area, we’d be out with one of half a dozen good friends for dinner at any one of at least a dozen restaurants in the area (granted, the Bay Area is not exactly a culinary mecca, either). Here, after my trek back out to the hinterlands, we’re stuck with just the two of us and another coin flip for dinner.

This, of course, leads me to be nostalgic for other places we’ve lived. In fact, all this twenty-twenty hindsight may mean that I can skip my optometrist appointment in September. In Boston, we lived in a cool, mostly urban neighborhood, within walking- or quick T-distance from movie theaters, shopping, and a dozen restaurants. I do remember how it sucked to carry fifteen grocery bags back on the T, but I also remember taking the T down to Newbury Street to kill an afternoon getting my hair cut at the really cool industrial place and window-gazing past the second-hand bookshops and record stores, the glitzy glass facade of the new Nike store, the Copley library, etc., etc., etc. We had a truly urban lifestyle, even though we tried to fight it; the nearest Target was 90 miles away, and damned if we didn’t still go once a month.

The Bay Area was supposed to be exciting and new: Silicon Valley! dot-coms! Lots of friends from school! That last part was about the only good thing. Between the Satan-spawned tribe living below us, the string of jobs that sucked my verve away, the bland-as-vanilla yet distastefully-extravagantly-expensive suburb we lived in, and the fact that it’s so California, we were not satisfied there. (Believe me, I do appreciate the fact that now that we’re homeowners, even if our neighbors had rock tumblers, we wouldn’t hear them.) However, as previously mentioned, we had quite a lot of friends. Friends to see movies with, friends to play video games with, friends to eat meals with, friends to have parties with, and so on and so forth.

So, I put it to you, gentle readers:

Where should Dan and Erin live?

(I put that last one in there so that our enemies might find a viable option and be able to vote their conscience.)

I’ll let you know the results. I’m not saying this is binding or anything, but I’m curious what everyone thinks.

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