We got a letter in the mail last week informing us that our household had been chosen to participate in a random survey about our county of residence, and that we’d be receiving the survey in the mail soon (so two separate pieces of mail – very efficient use of my taxes, county). It arrived today, with the instruction that it should be completed by an adult in the household who most recently had a birthday. That would be me, chief. It was a paper survey with a return envelope (really? people still do that?), but luckily it also had a web address where I could go answer all of Albemarle County’s burning questions for its residents. Which I did. Smart-ass I may be, but never say I don’t do my civic duty when called upon. And while it allowed me to express that I found the County’s recycling services to be “Poor” (nearly all the questions required rating county services as Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, or Don’t Know), I had no opportunity to say WHY I responded the way I did. There were no open comment fields. I’m a wordy person. I like to have my say. I feel…under-expressed. So today’s blog is going to involve the comments I wish I’d had the opportunity to write on my Albemarle County Citizen Survey. I gotta get it out of my system.
First off, yes, I rated most things Good. Not Excellent, not Fair. I think Albemarle County is mostly a good place to live, but it is by no means as stellar or amazing as all the head-up-their-butts yuppies (who think they’re actually hippies) seem to think it is. In fact, one of the major things about living in this area that irritates the crap out of me is the number of people who swoon over how amazingly amazing it is. It’s nice. There are good things here. But there’s also a lot of crap, and a lot of pretension. The entire Charlottesville/Albermarle area needs to just get over itself already.
Next, I rated the new development as Fair. I like some of the things that are coming to the area – better movie theaters and Trader Joe’s, for example. That said, the 29 North corridor is quickly becoming an extension of northern Virginia, and that SUCKS. One of the things I do value about this area is the awesome number of tiny, independently run businesses and restaurants. Yes, we needed (desperately) better movie theaters, and yes, I am happy to have a chance at Trader Joe’s and Kohl’s like the rest of the free world, but we do not need a Maggiano’s or a P.F. Chang’s or a Cheesecake Factory or a [fill in the blank with another massive, trendy corporate chain monstrosity]. Please work more on local development and less on corporate development, k-thanx.
Next up, employment opportunities: you’re kidding, right? If you’re in healthcare, financial management, or IT, you’re all set. Everyone else, hope you like waiting tables with all of the other PhDs in town who are doing the same. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, I realize, but the job market here is TOUGH for most professional people. I imagine it’s average for retail and blue-collar work, and it’s above average for healthcare professionals, but most liberal arts majors have a really hard time finding work. Just ask my husband, who’s been applying to jobs regularly for 3 years now and has finally decided to just freelance rather than work in his hell-hole of a job anymore.
What’s next? Oh yeah – traffic flow on major roads. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Seriously, can we have more than two roads, please?
Final comments, alluded to in the prelude to this whole thing – recycling services. I’m frankly amazed that they had the balls to put this on the survey. POOR. No curbside pick-up, no single-stream recycling center facilities. I have to store my recyclables on my friggin’ balcony until we have the time and energy to haul them all down the stairs, load up the car, and drive them to the recycling center in town, where we have to toss all of our separated items into bins with the rest of the damn county who’s trying to be good and recycle – including separating our #1 and #2 plastics into different bins. It’s gross and aggravating and a pain in the ass, and there is NOTHING but my personal guilt that continues to make us do it. Believe me, if it were up to the husband, we would not bother – he says his feelings of guilt aren’t strong enough to keep doing this without my insistence. And since I live in a condo, I have little say in my garbage pick-up situation, or you KNOW I’d be hiring one of the many waste services that take all of their garbage to the single-stream processing facility in the next county over that auto-separates the recyclables from the trash. I find in completely ridiculous that in 2011, we don’t have curbside recycling pick-up when I live about 500 yards from the city line, and the city DOES have it.
I don’t want to pretend I hate living here – I really don’t. I appreciate all the parks and walking trails and natural beauty – we have a lot of that. I love that the whole town feels dog-friendly, and we have so many amazing restaurants that I will probably never have a chance to try them all. But ask me what I think, Albemarle, and I expect an opportunity to actually give you an answer. At least a general comments field at the end of the survey would have sufficed. But you didn’t give me that chance, and now I’m filing my grievances in public.
Tomorrow we will return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Thanks for hearing me out.