Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Revisiting Old Haunts

My Reston apartment.
In 1998 I began working for Apple in their federal office in Reston, Virginia. I haven't been back there in more than a decade. While living there I got engaged, got cancer, got chemo, got cured, got married, got my first home, got my first dog, and witnessed the 9/11 attacks that took place 20 miles away.

My first townhouse.
After dropping by the Apple Reston office last Friday afternoon I drove to my old apartment a block away. The quarter mile trek was simple. Figuring out how to navigate from the apartment to my townhouse, four miles away, was challenging. I would not been able to find my way without GPS navigation even though I had made that daily commute for several years. Roads that had dead ended now went through where trees and fields used to be. Simple intersections had become complex cloverleafs. And small mom-and-pop shops which once stood out from the woods were now lost amongst strip malls and multi-story buildings. I was surprised how different everything looked; the former roads, route, and rural areas looked eerily familiar like an intimate face in a crowd of people.

I signed the paperwork to build my townhouse eight months before it was completed when it was a dirt lot, freshly deforested. My planned community was nestled in the woods adjacent to the Washington & Old Dominion rail-trail next to several abandon homes. Now, these shacks are neighbors with small McMansions.

It's a little sad to see nature destroyed in the name of progress, but I am one of the guilty. Which reminds me of an old joke...

What's the difference between a developer and an environmentalist?
A developer goes into the woods to build a home. An environmentalist already owns a home that's been built in the woods.

New McMansions.
Old homes.

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