Posted by: fireweaver | July 16, 2008

living well?

a girlfriend recently mentioned to me that my little suburb of DC made money’s top hundred places to live list (i’m trying to tempt her out of backwater hell and into glorious sciencey civilization). the stats & whatnot they use to determine these things are endlessly fascinating to me:

1. statement no.1 in the brief blurb is kinda nonsensical: “Gaithersburg doesn’t feel like a suburb of Baltimore or D.C.” huh? is that a good thing, or a bad one? i mean, no it doesn’t feel anything like suburban b’more, but being as how there’s a metro stop 10 minutes from my house, on which i can hop to get to the national mall, yeah, it’s totes a DC ‘burb.

2. the rest of that stuff? oddly enough, other than driving through old town a few times on my way home from the store, i don’t think i’ve done any of it at all. clearly, i should be looking more into fun little festivals around the neighborhood.

3. average cost of house is 32% more than other best-ranked cities…but property taxes are lower. this explains both my heinous mortgage, and my delightful income tax refund.

4. there are over 3000 restaurants within 15 miles of my zip code. holy crap. and that’s less than the best-ranked averages!  might i recommend the thai, sushi, vietnamese, & salvadorean places around here?

5. the whole “health” section, kind of a head-scratching moment, as if they picked 4 markers totally at random. two of them are rates of actual diagnosed long-term diseases, so those sort of make sense, but the rest, not so much. first up, we have % population with health insurance, which i’m going to say is more of a marker of quality of job, or perhaps % of white-collar vs blue-collar employment, or perhaps % full-time employees vs part-time ones rather than as an indicator of the “healthiness” of the population as a whole. don’t even get me started on the horseshit of BMI as a health indicator, since top-toned athletes like bodybuilders or footballers are going to rank as high as my curvaceous ass, and we’re all “less healthy” according to that one number than a rail-thin chain-smoking couch potato.

6. apparently, this whole town is a pack of 30-something college educated folks. just under half of us are married. go fig, i fit right in. something they did hit dead on is the “racial diversity index.”  i’ve told plenty of people that one of the things i really like about my neighborhood is that it’s so mixed: neighbors on one side are peruvian, the other side from ghana, the peeps across the street are pakistani, etc.  but there’s no segregation going on, no good side vs bad side of the place, no “this is the african section, that’s the asian section.”  the multi-culti thing probably has something to do with those bazillion restaurants, too…

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