December 13th, 2012
Where Do You Live
“Where do you live?”
This is a question which I answer frequently, but in many different ways.
In conversation with folks from the inner city, the answer is usually, “Nineteenth and New Jersey.”
In a diverse situation with people from all over the city, usually, “Downtown.”
In towns within the midwest, I add, “Downtown Indianapolis.”
In cities across the US, I leave it to, “Indianapolis.”
In European countries, I initially say, “Indianapolis, Indiana,” but often must mention our European claim to fame, the Indy 500.
In my daily life, however, this question demands a radically different answer.
Where I live is not solely about the point on a map where my house is situated; it’s about that which surrounds me.
Where I live is where my home is, but also where I attend school and go to worship. Even more than that, where I live includes the people and places I pass on my way to my destination.
So without further ado, here’s a small look at where I live:
This is my school.
While I always try to be a diligent student, I do occasionally forget to grab the odd assignment or textbook on the way out the door to school. Thankfully, it is a one minute and fifty-six second bike ride (or six minutes and twenty-seven second walk, if you prefer), enabling me to run back home and snag the forgotten item before the day begins.
On this path, I pass a mosaic of scenes:
Right out my front door, I can catch some beautiful cello floating out the house next door, home to an Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra member.
A half-block from my house is a young actors theater which my siblings performed in as kids.
As I cross the next street, I often greet a good friend of mine biking to work, as well as a few, four-foot tall boys making their way to a nearby elementary school from which I graduated. Judging by their brisk pace, I’d venture to guess they’re often a bit late.
Turning onto a street with a number of twenty-something renters, there’s a guy sitting on his apartment balcony practicing guitar.
A few doors down, there’s some half-finished sculptures sitting on a porch, likely the work of the same guy who has a Herron School of Art & Design bumper sticker on the car parked in front.
Right before reaching the school, I pass a Friend’s Meeting Place (a Quaker place of worship). I stopped by a little yard sale there once, and they were some of the most pleasant people I’ve ever talked to.
This is my church.
It’s a two minute and thirty-two second bike ride, a whopping seven minutes and forty-one seconds on foot. The trees are a lot bigger now than in the picture.
On my way there in the morning, I always end up walking with one of more than a dozen neighborhood families I see on my way every week. Rather than load whining children into a minivan, parents have the comparable job of pushing the younger children while keeping an eye on the elder racing ahead with their friends. Just this morning, I had a little two year-old David run by me shouting, “I have the gold! I have the gold!” Behind him eagerly ran his four year-old sister, and finally their dad walked with the one year-old. As he passed, he remarked, “Natalie has the silver. I’m pretty sure we have the bronze.”
Now, when someone asks me where I live, they probably just want a point on a map. But if they truly want to know where I live, the situation in which I live, I explain that it’s urban living, as well as how good my caddy-corner neighbor’s guacamole is. You see, they bring over that guacamole every time they hang out on my family’s front porch on Sunday afternoons. So, you can read all about the statistics of urban living, but nothing quite reminds me of why I love it as much as that guac, or all the other unique experiences within a six minute walk of “where I live.”