MY NEIGHBORHOOD IN 200 WORDS

(By Dudley M. Brooks -- The Washington Post)

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Arlington, near the Court House Metro, is that place in between. In between the for-now of the city and the forever of the suburbs. Where young professionals teeter between their college years and permanent adulthood. Sidewalks click with high heels in the morning and clop with flip-flops at night. Pizza delivery cars park outside apartment buildings daily. Inside, a girl closer to 25 than 35, clad in a back-of-the-drawer T-shirt, cries in the hallway over a boy and warm beer. My Arlington, near the Court House Metro, is white carpet that will soon be impractical.

-- Theresa Vargas

ISO Hoop Dreams

As the days lengthen, I look up the street hoping Rodney will appear.

He showed up this time last year, a stranger, Rodney, no last name, two buddies in tow. They had a basketball but no hoop. Our houses are big now, but we've lost the playgrounds and community spaces I grew up with. My husband had put a hoop in our driveway in Mitchellville, and Rodney asked if they could play. I had to think about it. I have little kids, and these were teenagers, big guys with baggy pants. But, oh, didn't they remind me of the boys who played in the park when I was a girl and the whole world was the South Side of Chicago.

Yes, I nod, you can play.

For a time, my kids and their friends played make-believe while Rodney and his friends hit jump shots and talked stuff, sometimes with my husband.

One day a car stops. Another teenager gets out. The little ones scatter. "Mommy, the boys are fighting," they tell me, and I rush them around back as my husband steps between the teens. My husband forces the interloper to leave. It's not Rodney's fault, but he has to go, too, my husband says -- we can't risk a school beef turning into a tragedy at our home. Rodney takes his basketball and his boys and walks off down the street.

I hope Rodney and his friends come bouncing their ball again this year. I'd like us to take one more shot at community.

-- Lonnae O'Neal Parker

Reveling in Purgatory

Smaller communities are all well and good, but the pleasant tri-neighborhood enclave of Tilden Woods, Old Farm and Luxmanor seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Bordered by Interstate 270 on the west, Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard on the east, Tuckerman Lane on the south and the ever-expanding Montrose Road on the north, we are like mimes in a shrinking box. Our leafy stomping grounds are at the tiptop of North Bethesda, where it sloshes over into Rockville. We live in suburban purgatory. The mailing address is Rockville, but the street signs are Montgomery County green. (City of Rockville signs are blue.)

Our internationally diverse spot has its share of divorces and overachieving kids. But it's home. One dreamy midsummer night, several of us remarked that we live in a sort of island state. We spoke of founding our own nation. A neighbor suggested "The People's Republic of Alabreezy" for no reason except that he liked it. We even worked on a flag design but ran out of beverages.

We still have the wine-stained notes. Independence Day will be July 23, the anniversary of our founding. Our national anthem: "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. Dogs and cats will run free. And we are pro-gum control. In other words, flossing is mandatory.

-- Linton Weeks

Reveling in Purgatory

Smaller communities are all well and good, but the pleasant tri-neighborhood enclave of Tilden Woods, Old Farm and Luxmanor seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Bordered by Interstate 270 on the west, Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard on the east, Tuckerman Lane on the south and the ever-expanding Montrose Road on the north, we are like mimes in a shrinking box. Our leafy stomping grounds are at the tiptop of North Bethesda, where it sloshes over into Rockville. We live in suburban purgatory. The mailing address is Rockville, but the street signs are Montgomery County green. (City of Rockville signs are blue.)

Our internationally diverse spot has its share of divorces and overachieving kids. But it's home. One dreamy midsummer night, several of us remarked that we live in a sort of island state. We spoke of founding our own nation. A neighbor suggested "The People's Republic of Alabreezy" for no reason except that he liked it. We even worked on a flag design but ran out of beverages.

We still have the wine-stained notes. Independence Day will be July 23, the anniversary of our founding. Our national anthem: "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. Dogs and cats will run free. And we are pro-gum control. In other words, flossing is mandatory.

-- Linton Weeks


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity