Tuesday, March 06, 2012

You know what I like the most about living downtown in a city? The convenience.

Grocery shopping, for example. I regularly go to three different places depending on the circumstances. I live four blocks south of a metro stop and there is a Target just around the corner from that, so that's the most convenient option. However, I don't like it all that much. Its selection isn't great for some things, and it has all the usual box store problems like huge lines, so I only go there when I'm really in a rush and/or am planning on getting non-grocery stuff you can find at box stores. Instead, I probably go to the Yes! organic grocery in the other direction the most often. It's a little bit further out of the way, but not too much - to go there I just get off the metro one stop early. It's definitely most "fun" of the three locations: there's often a wine tasting, it's usually easy to find what I want, lines at the register are quick. But it's a small grocery that just doesn't have some stuff at all, I go to a Harris Teeter a few blocks west almost as often. It's the farthest option from home by a hair, and there's a busy street to cross, and some of their stuff is arranged weirdly (for example, they have two cheese sections on opposite sides of the store), but still, I could happily do 99 percent of my grocery shopping there, it's just that other options are quicker.

Now, that might sound complicated as I write it down, but in day-to-day life it's so simple I don't think about it - Target occasionally if I'm in a real hurry and/or if I also need non-grocery stuff, Yes! twice a week or so for the basics, Harris Teeter for anything else.

All that is within half a mile of my apartment. My parents have to drive 10 minutes to get to the closest store of any kind, let alone the closest real grocery store, and even the closest grocery store to them probably doesn't have all options at the stores I've discussed here. When they lived closer to a larger but still rural town, the distance was shorter and selection within a convenient trip was better than it is now, but still probably not as good as it is for me and they still had to drive to eat. I get by just fine without a car, which means much less expense and time committed to it.

So by living in a city (or rather, in a nice neighborhood of a city with good public transportation) I can get basically the same quality of groceries within convenient walking distance as I'd have within convenient driving distance somewhere else. But what if I don't feel like walking anywhere? This happened to me not long ago. It was a weekend morning, I wanted to make omelets for brunch for me and T., but we had no eggs in the apartment. Even walking down to Yes! or up to Target seemed daunting, once I factored in getting boots and my winter coat and stuff. More work and preparedness than I wanted to go through for a common brunch at home.

But then it occurred to me - there's a gas station around the corner, just one block away. I checked it, and sure enough, they had eggs, as well as some other basic groceries. I didn't go in my pajamas, but I easily could have. Now that is convenient.


Linda Lunna said...

I envy the convenience of grocery stores within walking distance. Since I am still stuck within walking distance of my chicken house, it makes me happy to know that someone from here got away!!!!

Cyrus said...

Heh, I obviously like it or I wouldn't be here, but living out in Bethel/Stockbridge wasn't quite so bad I think of it as "getting away". As for this specific example, it must be easier for you to get eggs in the morning than it is for me. :)