Monday, July 12, 2010


Ya know what I hate?


I hate them so much that I hate Mockingbird Lane and its immense traffic backups and negligible pedestrian accommodations.

I hate them so much that I hate Mockingbird Station and its feel of a parking lot posing as an urban space and the misguided attempt at second story retail.

I hate them so much that I hate Boo Radley. Jem and Scout too. Atticus? Now that's my boy.

I hate that Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas couldn't arrive at a more unique state bird.

I hate that states feel compelled to have state birds. What's the point?

Why do I hate mockingbirds? Because one once dive bombed me whilst walking to work startling me into back spasms for a week. There is now one at City Hall that follows me all the way around the block. That is some chordata douchebaggery there if I've seen it.
On the other hand, what I love is the British Open golf tournament at St. Andrews. Hell, I love the British Open and its not so perfectly manicured courses like American target golf. I love that nature and history has shaped the course moreso than a pencil and some bulldozers.

Once upon a time, I went off to school to become a landscape architect to design golf courses. Naive lad, I know. Eventually, I realized nothing new could top the old game. Not to mention that I sensed a downturn in the demand for new golf courses competing for the scarce resource of land with a world struggling to feed itself.

So when I came across this tweet by the venerable Dan Jenkins of Golf Digest, I decided to add some imagery aided by a visit to St. Andrews, Scotland via Google Earth:
Why is St. Andrews the best of the British Open venues? Because when you walk off the course, you're SOMEWHERE. A quaint, scenic city.
In many ways this 140-character statement also sums up many of the difficulties golf courses and golf in general faces. While often the golf course is necessarily seen as a refuge, a getaway from work or family or traffic or whatever. But it also represents its disconnection from cities, from people. St. Andrews is eminently and forever entwined with its town and the tourist economy binding the two. It is very much part of the place.

Via twitter on Valentine's Day a national writer posited the query, "what makes a city, any city, more romantic than another?" I responded, "timelessness." It is the sense of something bigger than you. Of being connected to people before and after you, that were once standing in the very same spot perhaps doing the very same thing. It is that which binds us all.

Let's take a walk through St. Andrews shall we, a city that seems as old as time itself.