It's been a year since I moved away from Lakewood, and even though I could relocate to a new place as a newly-single guy, I've chosen to stay where I am.
I enjoy living in North Dallas/Richardson given its central location, being not too far away from places I have enjoyed going to in my fourteen-plus years living in Dallas County. Living in Lakewood for nine years was critical for me, but I am glad I don't have homeless people going through my garbage, my street getting shut down like it's Mardi Gras on Halloween night, and I don't have to answer to the not-so-friendly landlords who bought my old place.
I have a new housemate moving in at the end of the month and I have many reasons to be excited as he's been a friend for many years. Couple that with a humongous new record store opening in nearby Farmers Branch, shows to see, and a quick trip to Los Angeles for something very cool (for which I reveal at a later date) and I'm happy to say fall is shaping up to be a great time.
I am in zero rush to get back into dating anyone, but if there's an open door, I'd be a fool to not to at least walk up and check it out. Yet a townie mindset keeps popping up in trying to meet new people: those who wish to stay in a bubble of an area, with some flexibility of venturing out ten minutes away, tops, from that bubble. I'm talking those who want to stay primarily in Oak Cliff, Lakewood, Deep Ellum, and East Dallas, with some flexibility in going outside of those places, but not too far. If it's more than a twenty-minute drive, you might as well be going to Oklahoma.
At an engagement party I went to years ago, I overheard a friendly woman declare, "I would never date anyone who lived north of 635." (Coupled with her declaration of, "I don't understand why anyone would watch a horror movie," I never spoke to her again that night.) I understand there is a distance factor if you make a-longer-than-twenty-minute trip on a regular basis, given traffic concerns, but I've often found that distance isn't truly a dealbreaker if it involves the right person for you.
Distance didn't keep my parents apart for too long between them meeting and marrying, and the same happened with my sister and brother-in-law. And they all were based out of different parts of the state when they met. I've known of other couples who didn't let distance keep them away for too long. The desire to be together led them to eventually be physically close, no matter what. So why should I ever believe that people living above a dividing line to be a major dealbreaker?
I don't buy into the mindset where everything fun needs to be a short drive or bike ride away. But I can't just get up and go to places all over the Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton area.
I don't often go to Fort Worth, Denton, or the suburbs in Collin or Tarrant counties. When I do, it's a special trip that I'm happy to do. When a friend that I haven't seen in years is playing a free show on a Friday night in Fort Worth, I'm there. When it's a beautiful Saturday and I have no plans and haven't been to Mad World Records in a few months, I'll go to Denton.
With the places I frequent, I prefer to stay somewhat close. Where I'm located, I'm close to my full-time job, thankfully a fifteen-minute-drive via sidestreets. But if I'm invited to something that I know is rare, like a Halloween party hosted by friends I rarely see, distance -- within reason -- doesn't hold me back. Strangely, I have met people who wouldn't dare to do that for friends they hardly see anymore. It's about the bubble, you know?
I never experienced this kind of bubble mentality when I lived in New Orleans or Houston. Shudder to Think is playing Fitzgerald's in the Heights? I'm going. We have relatives in Galveston that we never see during the year? We'd be happy to visit them on Christmas day.
I go where I want to go. If the amount of time I spent getting there (and the enjoyment of being there) trumps the distance it took to get there, then I'm OK with that.