I know what you’re thinking. That’s living? It sounds more like torture to me! And maybe it’s not the most exciting way to live, but I figured I should be a little more invested in my town after nine years of calling it home.
I live in a real life Mayberry. Well, at least it’s the closest thing to it in Central Florida. It’s a place where Halloween feels like you’re walking the streets of Hocus Pocus, Christmas offers Dickens’ carolers, carriage rides, and Florida snowfall, and July 4th makes you proud to be an American. White picket fences, front porches, and miles of sidewalks make you wonder if you magically landed in a Hallmark movie instead of the muggy, mosquito infested, middle of Florida. This place has the small town feel smack dab in the heart of tourist central.
From the very first time I visited back in 2001, I added this town to my list of places I needed to live someday. I checked off that box a long time ago and haven’t been quite ready to let it go. My other dream towns will have to wait a while longer. I’m in the process of building a house here and have no intention of leaving anytime soon.
With my growing investment in this town, emotionally as much as financially, I decided to partake in a town meeting intended to discuss the future of our community events. Without these events, my town would be nothing more than a quaint subdivision of a much larger, overpopulated territory. I needed to know that this place would continue to grow into the family friendly, neighborly community that I fell in love with all those years ago. There’s no better forum to enact or prevent change than a town meeting such as this so I figured why not actively participate in the well-being of my chosen hometown.
I won’t bore you with the details, but let me tell you, people on all sides were passionate. I felt like I was Lorelei Gilmore sitting in a Stars Hollow town meeting and Taylor was up front arguing about some ridiculous rule that Luke had broken. (I hope you’re just as well versed in Gilmore Girls as I am. If not, clear your weekend and prepare for a Netflix binge). The attendees showed no mercy when they felt strongly against a comment and applauded when someone shared their sentiments. At one point, I found myself ready to speak out against one of the board members because he was being so irrational. I’m not kidding you when I say my insides boiled. I could feel my blood bubbling and found myself imagining the scene I could create if I told the man to shove it. I amazingly fought the urge to lose it, and instead remained a silent witness to the ensuing pandemonium. It was quite comical and very clear to me this meeting was going to last for-ev-er.
What I gathered from this meeting before I left 2.5 hours after the start (and an hour before the end!) was that I have a handful of passionate, entitled neighbors. Our events may change but they’ll never disappear. Our local businesses depend on the revenue during these times and the salability of our properties relies heavily on the perceived notion of community involvement. An outcome may not have been reached last night but I’m confident the two parties involved will work their shit out. Why? Because if they don’t, everyone loses.
I’m pretty sure I can find better ways to bide my precious time than listen to grown men and women bicker. I’m glad I went to support the town I love, but I’m not sure I feel the need to return to another meeting anytime soon…unless I suddenly get the urge to channel Lorelei Gilmore again. Maybe next time I’ll bring a cup of coffee, snacks, and a sidekick so we can commentate on the scene just like the Gilmore Girls.
Maybe for the next installment of “I Lived” I’ll throw in something a little more adventurous to combat the mental tidal waves of insanity last night caused. Seriously, y’all, after this meeting I think I need to redefine “living.”