Three years ago I moved to Plaza Midwood from Matthews. I didn’t want to. I was dragged along kicking and screaming as my roommates made it clear they weren’t going to continue settling for grocery store trips as our sole means of “going out” at night.
For three years, living first with the roommates and then a little down the road with the girlfriend, I made sure everyone knew I was NOT a fan of living where I did.
Last month, however, all of my bellyaching ended when the opportunity to move out of Plaza Midwood finally made sense. After quite a persuasive speech from me, the girlfriend and the cat agreed to pack up and move out to south Charlotte.
We’d be near Cotswold, I told them, and the ritziest mall in the city! The crime would be minimal and we’d actually be able to sleep at night without hearing a symphony of sirens and squealing tires. We could all see it now: A blissfully quiet and happy existence away from the hustle and bustle.
Less than a month after moving to south Charlotte, I can admit it: I was wrong. I take it back. I take it all back.
What nightmare did I conceive in my mind that allowed this to happen? South Charlotte, while certainly a very safe and popular community, is driving me crazy.
To better describe just how much regret I am experiencing, here’s the breakdown of a typical day in the life of a south Charlotte resident (me):
11 a.m.: Working a later-than-normal shift has usually been a perk for me as I miss a lot of rush hour traffic. Not in south Charlotte, however! I painstakingly try to merge onto Providence so I can trek home but a series of 400 minivans and SUVs plow through lights ranging from green to yellow to “HOW DID YOU NOT JUST GET INTO AN ACCIDENT?”
11:15 a.m.: Witness the usual line of 25+ cars wrapped around Chick-fil-A and spilling into the street as every soccer mom in the city has decided this is the only place to provide their children with sustenance every weekday afternoon.
6:30 p.m.: As I prepare to head home, I make a note to myself to stop at the Harris Teeter near work as I am absolutely, positively certain that the Cotswold location is going to have a “Mad Max”-esque battle scene in the parking lot.
6:45 p.m.: Contemplate my existence as I stare ahead at an endless row of vehicles waiting to turn left onto Providence from Fairview, yet again.
7:30 p.m.: Arrive home and am immediately greeted by a gang of 8 year olds on Razor scooters darting in, around and possibly under (?) my car as I try to park. Grit my teeth and wave.
7:45 p.m.: Oops, looks like I forgot to get ground turkey. Dinner is put on hold until I get that pronto. The cat is also muttering about the need for some wet food.
8 p.m.: Arrive at Harris Teeter’s Cotswold location. Strap on battle armor and pepper-spray cartridge before entering.
8:15 p.m.: The checkout line is literally 20 people deep and there’s no sign of any registers opening up elsewhere. I again contemplate my existence and the amount of time waiting in lines to buy turkey. I return the meat and head out empty-handed.
8:45 p.m.: We decide to order from Postmates and embrace laziness. Lo and behold, however, the old $3.99 specials and meal deals readily available to people living in Plaza are not as common here in south Charlotte, where everything is just far enough away to not be considered nearby.
9:15 p.m.: Get in the car and head to Pizza Peel. We had about five options in the area, and they have a bar I plan to get to know very well in the future.
9:30 p.m.: A mixture of children screaming, guitars playing and people murmuring as they wait for a table greets us as soon as we enter. We leave the establishment with more questions than answers.
10 p.m.: We are eating Jack in the Box tacos in the car because there is an odd amount of poorly planned construction making Sharon Amity impenetrable from the parking lot.
10:15 p.m.: I ask if perhaps we should go out for a drink somewhere else but am met with a cold stare and the sobering realization that there’s nowhere else to really go at this point.
11 p.m.: Flip through old Facebook pictures of past nights out in Plaza Midwood: Eating at Three Amigos, having a High Life at Elizabeth Billiards, walking to Legion Brewing. Spent the rest of the night in a state of whimsy and nostalgia while the endless stream of honking and revving engines lulls me to sleep, with the hope that perhaps tomorrow this nightmare will have ended.
Photos: CharlotteFive/Charlotte Observer file