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Pretentious Wanker Lane

Part of my new job is making street signs. Yes, I know the letters are too small. No, I can't do anything about it; there's a specification I have to follow.

Anyway, several times I have seen streets I know from my own neighborhood, which is kind of cool, and as I gain familiarity with the Portland area, I find that there are more and more street names I recognize. And it's fun, because I've always liked to see the street names of different areas, and try to figure out what regional influence created them.

But there are some that just have to be seen to be believed: Jewelberry Avenue, Crystal Coral Drive, shit like that. I know exactly where these streets are, even though I've never been near them. They're in suburbia, the cookie-cutter wasteland of sprawl that has grown around the edges of every American city in the past thirty years like a fungus. These pretentious signs hang over crooked streets full of shoddily-built McMansions with overpriced Japanese SUVs in the driveways, full of glassy-eyed automatons who sold their souls for a plasma TV and vote Republican because they're scared of their own shadow.

I should know. I grew up in the proto-suburb of Boulder Hill, Illinois, in a once-lovely valley between the towns of Montgomery and Oswego. Our house was a precursor to the McMansions of today: bigger than it needed to be, thrown onto its foundation in such a hurry that floors creaked and doorways leaned from day one, crowded onto an irregular-shaped lot on a tiny street that went nowhere: Beau Meade Road. Gah.

Some people, I know, might think this is sour grapes, that I'm just jealous of the money these people have. That's true; I am. But I won't spend the seventy or eighty hours a week in a cubicle it takes to afford that lifestyle, and even if I had the money, I'd skip the oversized house and ostentatious jacked-up-station-wagon (which is all an SUV is, really) and revolving debt, and fix up a little house and drive a beat-up old sports car that's paid for. (Hey wait; that sounds like what I do now!)

So enjoy your shiny stuff and credit card bills, denizens of Pretentious Wanker Lane. But keep in mind that the guy who made your street sign is laughing at you.
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I'm such a dork...I'd love your job! :-P