I just recently had to make my way through southern Fort Collins. For those of you who have yet to venture, itâ€™s a real treat(moderate sarcasm implied).
For the past year I have slowly redrawn my Fort Collins map, choosing to define new city parameters â€“â€“ in turn, ignorantly deciding that everything else doesnâ€™t need to exist. I think itâ€™s fair to say that my new map has been strategically drawn to include almost none of southern Fort Collins.
â€œOh yeah, what about Best Buy?!â€ the boy yells.
â€œHey look, buddy, my familyâ€™s franchise is down there!â€
Settle down people, settle down. Iâ€™m merely voicing one of my egregious opinions. Itâ€™s what happens when life momentarily slows down; suddenly it becomes more fun to take aim at Wal-Mart and kids who love Taco Bell. Just roll with it.
Besides, the fact that a few of you might perhaps choose to defend the bustling nature of our cityâ€™s southern end is of no concern to meâ€¦I write the articles around here.
Anyways, in short, I despise the mess that southern Fort Collins is. It represents everything that I donâ€™t care for. Itâ€™s a wasteland â€“â€“ a plague of oversized, formulated businesses, condensed and saturating in endless, used car salesmen muster, even if the cars are new.
Itâ€™s poorly arranged concrete, obligatory thrift stores and pale dehydrated sign twirlers dawdling on the side of College Avenue. Itâ€™s thousands of wasteful, middle-aged salesmen taking early lunch breaks, driving empty, plastic-looking vessels to Quiznoâ€™s to buy toasted sandwiches and bottles of water. (They leave their messy trays at the table)
And Iâ€™m not some anti-capitalist. Weâ€™re talking about arrangement, people.
My disposition is not necessarily in the businesses themselves â€“â€“ itâ€™s the fact that we just throw them all together like unsuitable marbles into the glass jar we call middle America.
Itâ€™s the â€œefficientâ€ side of town.
It doesnâ€™t look good, but damnit, this is America. Now letâ€™s drive home and watch some football. (A sport that I do in fact enjoy).
The fact is, I think itâ€™s embarrassing the way we have allowed this country to embrace an attitude where the highway goes here, houses go here, and strip malls go everywhere else. Itâ€™s embarrassing that we leave entire parts of towns to drown in unworthy sequences of businesses and banks and rug stores â€“â€“ parts of town you should only drive your car to.
And Iâ€™m aware that there isnâ€™t one man somewhere pulling all the strings, trying to sabotage every good-natured town in this country. Iâ€™m aware that somehow this is all just happening â€“â€“ one block at a time â€“â€“ because itâ€™s easier. Because the formula works, so why not…try it out over there!
Whereâ€™s the originality?
Wellâ€¦ itâ€™s around. (We need you, city art programs, weâ€™re dying over here). It lives when people decide to be artful and construct communities that choose not to segregate the efficiency of economics with the wholeness of back-country suburbia.
The truth is, I love Fort Collins, but only the Fort Collins I have redrawn, a Fort Collins that does not include either of the two Wal-Marts or Samâ€™s Club or Bed Bath and Beyond (unless I, of course, need bed sheets). Itâ€™s a Fort Collins that only semi-frequently includes Target, and places like Guitar Center and Best Buy (CafÃ© Mexicali is an exception).
My new southern Fort Collins boundary ironically enough stops at Whole Foodsâ€¦. And yes, you can insert all of the snarky, indie kid comments you want, but I donâ€™t care damnit. Iâ€™m addicted to Kombucha. You love it.
Either way, I donâ€™t expect us all to go and torch half of our city. Hopefully, some of us with a little sense of style turn out to be city planners. Then maybe we could stop building such scatter-brain towns, and maybe then we would stop subsidizing water and dragging it out into the desert,
building entire unsustainable kingdoms of drab houses that all look the same. Iâ€™m starting to rant.
I do think this city is making great strides, but in the meantime, maybe we could perhaps just consider seceeding from the southern part of town â€“â€“ just like those Texans tried to do in 1837. It might just be better if we didâ€¦.until we of course realize that we need a power strip and a few new DVDs.
Then, in that case, we might just have to hop back over the border.
_Rodger Katz is a senior liberal arts major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. _