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4 is the magic number
 
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post #147
bio: stu
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3/30/2006
11:19

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The Corner of Stupidity and Absurdity
Here in New York City, addresses mostly make sense. There's something comforting about knowing that a place is on the corner of 11th and 4th. You can find your way there, and you don't feel like your address is betraying you. I remember an old Boondocks comic where the young thug-in-training, Riley, was despodent over learning he lived on Weeping Deer Lane, and how could he start his hip hop career with this hanging over him?

This seems to me to be entirely a problem of the suburbs and exurbs. City streets are mostly numbered or bear the names of famous people who contributed to the development of the metropolitan area. You'll have an occasional chuckle-worthy "Gay Street," but for the most part you'll be safe. It's the 'burbs that have this issue--places with no real history, that cropped up without a past or a sense of tradition, and have no common story to tell themselves through their street names. Once they get past naming streets Broadway, or Main Street, or after presidents, city planners had to come up with hundreds more names, all at once. And that's when things got stupid.

In my job, I deal with these addresses a lot. You can only see so many "Thunderbird Lanes," "Hitching Post Street," or a "Pilgrim's Progress Place," before you feel ready to lose it. A "Quoting Poet Court" flounced its way across my desk yesterday, just daring me to mock it. I did. My co-workers tell me I get angry at these things too easily.

It's not all cutesy names and me choking down bile. Soon after snarling at the Quoting Poet Court, I received a gift from a guy who lives on Adorno Lane. I like this one. There's a pretentious and perverse side of me that likes to think that there's this Frankfurt School stretch of streets somewhere out there in America, undoubtedly in a gated community of wealthy people afraid that brown people might get too close to their fortresses for any purpose other than to handle their gardening. You tell your maid and your gardener that you'll pick them up on the corner of Habermas Lane and Benjamin Road, you know, just down from Horkheimer Court, and then they'll come down to your place on Adorno Lane. They can pick up some fertilizer at the 7-11 on Fromm Drive--it's just in the neighborhood.

All this, for these pampered white rich fellows, while blissfully unaware that you're living in a neighborhood named for a group of Neo-Marxist social theorists, who had spent their lives focusing on exactly what was wrong with people like you.

Okay, I take it back. Sometimes, suburban street names are better than numbered city streets.






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