I Want To Meet Your Mommy!

I was up at a Town Council meeting for a project briefing, on a project that I'm working on.  One of the questions that came up was  - How are you sure you are getting information into "families".  At first I had this vision of a woman coming to a community meeting, then rushing home to tuck the child in at night...never talking about what she saw and heard at the meeting.  Then I realized that was just me...just for last night.

(Alex and I talk about transit projects All.The.Time.  So much so that if I'm in a bad mood, I wonder if he married me so that he could get the "inside track" on what's going on with any of the transit projects in the world.  But - I know the real reason why he married me...I make amazing coffee.) 

Seriously - when was the last time you had "the talk" with your parents.  What is it that you are doing, going to all these community meetings, getting all excited about a transit line, or new park, or new construction?  Do your parents know that you get this excited about it?  Have you ever taken a building tour - you know...like a hard hat tour...with your parents?  Holy crap.  I know, right!

Story Time!  Way back when, when Alex and I first started dating, he lived in this tiny little "bachelor" or also known (and legally known) as a studio.  After a couple of real paychecks, Alex was interested in moving to something that was more of his style (or so he thought)...the apartments next to the DMV, Ralphs, and the office park in Santa Monica.  The timing was odd, he wanted to go look at this apartment, I was with him...and his parents came along as well.  To say it was awkward for me was an understatement.  To walk into a one-bedroom apartment with your boyfriend's parents, and his mom getting all excited over the fact there was a washer and dryer in the unit...I couldn't say it at the time, but I totally needed a beer.

Anyways, back to my original point...

Right now, Metro has all these projects in various phases of completion.  You might be a little grumpy because you feel like it is taking too long.  You really need to stop worrying about that, and worry about the fact that your parents...will not be able to drive that awesome car for much longer, and it will likely fall to you to get them around everywhere.  And, while putting them in Uber or Lyft might work well for the doctor appointments, or to show off for their friends.... Your parents will not want to be left in social isolation.  If I can wag my finger for one moment...it will be your responsibility to teach your mom, dad, auntie, uncle, that odd older cousin we all have...how to get a Tap Card, load the card, use the card, and know when their bus and/or train is set to arrive. 

My in-laws already take the BBB wherever they want to go, leaving the car only for doctor appointments and grocery visits.  Although, the Father-in-law still drives to work, they both have a growing contempt for the big ol' Volvo.  If it is paying for parking, the cost of the valet, getting to a parking spot, dealing with other drivers...they are really starting to hate the car.  And, they took it on themselves to learn how to take the bus to where they want to go, or even...gasp... from SaMo to DTLA!

Two more things...  One - thank you to Sirinya for her posting!  It was a gentle reminder to me to keep blogging.  And two...

You need to talk to your parents about transit and planning projects.  You really do. If there's not enough bus service in your neighborhood, nothing says "Holy Crap, there's a bunch of Old Ladies here demanding bus service" better than what your mother and her friends can do. While normal people get a little nervous about teenagers traveling in packs, nothing says "You are in trouble" like 10 Old Ladies, walking into a community meeting...canes or not. (And, I say "Old Ladies" as a sign of utmost respect, because there's two things in this world you should NEVER do... 1) try to drink from a straw and walk at the same time and 2) Piss off Old Ladies. 

I can get paid advertising, send out glossy mailers, but at the end of the day - your parents really still have this unending desire (expressed or not) to know about everything that you do.  They want to know that you care about your neighborhood, and more importantly...how you intend to get them to their social activities when they can no longer safely navigate the god-forsaken roads in our beautiful city.

So - at the next community meeting - I want to see some Mommies, Daddies, Aunties and Uncles.  Stop by the sign in table, say hello.

1 comment:

Sirinya Matute said...

hey! Ohhhhh... my poor parents have heard me go off ad nauseum regarding my worries about the built environment, land use planning, urban design, and how it is basically killing us slowly in painful ways (obesity, diabetes, etc). When I left it, it almost represented this cultural, educational, and generational divide. It was as though it were so white, and privileged, of me to be worried about such things (never mind that I am not white). You totally have an important point, though. Mine tuned out my talk on this topic years ago, but there is still hope: my sister (educated, not an urban planner) has a Citibike membership, and has begun cycling regularly for the first time since we were little girls living near KTown. She tells people she wants more bike infrastructure and how she feels about riding on streets without the lanes and cycle tracks.