Maryland, take one.

So, Diana and I just got back from our fist trip to Maryland. Aside from the flight back, it was a pretty good trip. We were able to visit about a dozen different apartments/townhouses for rent and we got to know the area fairly well. We’ll most likely end up living in a place call Olney, a small suburban town about 30 min outside of Washington DC. I would really have liked to live closer to campus, and I know I’m going to be hating my gas bill, but Olney has some of the best schools in the area and is a safe community–plus the townhouse we found was the best price we could get on a 3 bedroom place.

Still, I’m conflicted. I don’t want to be running away from diversity, nor do I want to prejudge those more densely populated areas, whose greatest drawback appears to be that they have high immigrant populations. What’s more, to the extent that I’m and environmentalist,ย  I feel particularly bad that I won’t be able to use public transportation. That said, we truly are going into a vast unknown. I’m sure that there are any number of areas closer to the city that are great places to raise a family. The problem is, how does someone who lives on the other side of the country know where those places are? What’s more, there’s no way someone on a student stipend can afford to live in those places. I plead necessity, may the gods of the environment and social consciousness have mercy on my commuting, suburban-living soul.

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5 thoughts on “Maryland, take one.

  1. You have the rest of your life to be environmentally friendly and socially conscious. Do what makes the most sense for your family on a student budget with no shame! (At least that’s what I tell myself…) ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I don’t like this at all. It’s not a good start for you as a graduate student. You have to remember that you already have two strikes against you. You’re white and from Utah (people will assume you’re conservative). Riding a bike or taking public transportation is an important method of gaining acceptance in the academic community. By commuting from a suburb you send the message that your family’s comfort and your child’s education are more important than the environment or your own intellectual development. People will think you’re not a serious scholar. And don’t think voting for Obama will solve this problem (although voting for Nader certainly will make things worse.)

    Don’t worry, you can still recover. Being a conscientious climatologist is by far the best way to assimilate, but it’s not the only way. There are also two other methods for proving you have freed yourself from the confines of an intolerant, coporate-oriented, bourgeois mindset.

    Option #1: You can become a Buddhist. The Tibetan variety is quite chic, of course, but Theravadans are making a comeback. The ‘small vehicle’ mantra really sets you a part as someone opposed to materialism.

    Option #2: Become a vegetarian. Nothing vaults you into elite academic status faster than going to a dinner party and condescendingly informing the host that you’re morally opposed to eating any of the meat, eggs, or milk they were planning on serving you.

    These are your best options for fitting in at Maryland…unless you’re willing to consider homosexuality.

  3. Man, Shane, you sure are down on Maryland–especially for someone getting his Ph.D. from UW Madison. Just because the Madison Marxist Club goes cow-tipping for their yearly fund raiser doesn’t make them any less academically elitist.

    P.S. You know, since you mention it, you and I would make a great couple. Perhaps the two of us could improve our academic hireability the easy way… *wink* *wink*

  4. Who is this Shane and why is he so funny? I didn’t know you had funny friends Porter. To ease your conscience a bit, when Ike & I lived in Edmonton we lived in 3 places in 2 1/2 years. Each place got progressively better & closer to campus, which also meant a raise in rent but only slightly. Although we didn’t have children going to school at the time, I found that there were great neighborhoods and parks right by the university – but then again, we all can’t move to Canada “Land of Fantastical Bike Trails & Cheap Health Care”. Have fun in Maryland!

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