Authentic Towns: Only in my dreams?
October 06, 2005
I've written about my dreams before but I hadn't realized something about them until tonight.
I have dreams about every town I've lived in.
And every time I dream about one of those towns, the dream is about an authentic neighborhood there.
Not a real neighborhood, an authentic one.
We live in America, remember? Authentic neighborhoods are often hard to come by. Sure, they're out there BUT they're going extinct FAST everywhere but in enclaves. (Gentrification doesn't count: millionaires can keep any chunkaland looking, appearing, seeming to be neighborly: for their elite peers.)
These dream neighborhoods are CLOSE to real ones, both in proximity and being almost like places I know. It's frustrating! I wake up wanting them. I want to go there! I finally remember where it is!
Every time, each city I've lived in, has a very similar version of an authentic neighborhood pop up.
Including the city I live nearby right now!
What a commonality. It seems kinda weird that such a strong theme runs thru my dreams. I have repeating dreams about a dozen phantom neighborhoods in the 7 cities and towns I've lived in.
I've even written about these exact dreams---but without ever connecting them up like this.
What makes a neighborhood authentic? Well, there's always street life. People are out and about. There's always businesses that have been there forever. There's continuity in evidence even in my dreams. There are no minimalls or parking lots. There are great old used bookstores. Lunchplaces where the Denver rushhour crowd flows to from downtown offices. People are ice-skating as a family on a river as other neighbors walk by. Imagine a bookstore and ferriswheel by the beach in L.A. And they're all contemporary types, not Rockwellesques. It COULD happen. I'm always just stumbling onto these places. They seem so real. Some of them ARE very much like actual neighborhoods. Of course there are still authentic neighborhoods here and there in the USA. It's just that they are indeed under seige. They're harder and harder to find when awake as well.
Imagine Americans outside strolling around together...imagine Americans preserving whole districts without a court order or bizarre economic prosperity, just because they stayed alive on their own due to people frequenting them and business being sufficient as it was: say, a lunch-counter, a newstand, a soda fountain and a movie theater all in a single streetcorner walk-thru building in Lansing, still rolling along, no marketing plan (that was one dream). It seems ALMOST possible. Then I wake up.
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