Thursday, November 11, 2010

shameless promotion (2.0), part xv

Editor's Note: In the ongoing effort of this blog to promote its primary author's failingcareer as a writer, we present to this week's edition of the column that ran in the St. Clair Times, which now has its own Facebook and Twitter pages. As always, you may leave comments here, or visit me on Twitter personally. Thanks in advance for your feigning of interest.
Elite neighbor keeps coming up in talks of moving on

It is inevitable, of course, that any kind of change within a community will be met with resistance, even when that “change” is something as simple as “making people cut their grass” or “arresting people for dealing drugs in front of the school.”

Here’s what’s weird: with every attempt at community change in St. Clair County, one name seems to be continually invoked for reasons that don’t entirely make sense. The name? Mountain Brook.

Yes, Mountain Brook — the over-the-mountain suburb with a statewide reputation as something of an elite country club, that Mountain Brook, has become the go-to buzzword for anyone decrying anything in these parts.

On a number of occasions at council meetings, commission meetings, zoning board meetings, you’ll hear it. “We don’t need (whatever it is we’re discussing) — we’re not like Mountain Brook.”

Even while discussing improvements made to a local fire department recently, one county fire chief said, “Maybe you can’t have curb-and-gutter like Mountain Brook, but you can still have the best fire protection we have available.”

Mountain Brook’s take: “Wait, how’d we get dragged into this again?”

In a way, the references to Mountain Brook are indicative of a simmering tension, not just here but in a number of areas surrounding major cities. Essentially, the old guard — the people who are native to the area, who helped build the area, who “like it the way it is” — resent the influx of “foreigners” moving there from such faraway lands as Birmingham, running for offices and suggesting things like leash laws and bike lanes.

“Y’all are just trying to make us like Mountain Brook,” will come the inevitable reply.

It’s not Mountain Brook that’s the problem; it’s change. Not many people like it, particularly when it comes to the place they call home.

Not that I’m any better: every time I visit my alma mater, I’m always confronted by the inescapable conclusion that the place is cleaner, prettier and safer than it ever was when I was there. Of course, I liked it the way it was; the new look frosts me at every turn.

“What’d they change it for?” I groused to a friend of mine. “It’s like they made it into Mountain Brook or something.”

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Don’t feel like your writing career is failing. Mine surely is, but yours is not. BTW, I just found you through a piece I read about Halloween and Thanksgiving that was in the St. Clair Times. I thought it was quite an interesting take.