The closest beach was still deserted, which didn't surprise me all that much, as it was a little cool and breezy. The entire goose population, which has exploded over the past few years, was hanging around on the beach. I counted 21 geese; I gave them a wide berth.
As I rounded the corner approaching the beach at the other end of the lake, however, I saw that it was starting to fill up with humanity. Families were covering picnic tables with cloths and hauling out coolers, dads were fishing with their kids, a couple of toddlers were splashing around in the water.
By the time I had picked up my groceries and headed back, gaggles of teenagers had wandered onto the human beach, people were spreading blankets out on the lawn by the waterfall. The goose beach was still human-free. One of them gave me the hairy eyeball as I passed. I wonder if they claimed that beach for the entire day?
As I walked back home along the Drive, I was struck once again at how poorly planned the neighbourhood really is. It was obviously designed with the automobile-obsessed mentality that defined city planning during the 70's, that spawned the concept of the suburb in the first place. Curving streets, vast expanses of front yard dominated by a driveway, back lanes that serve no other purpose than a place to put out your garbage once a week.
The area of the neighbourhood in which I live is slightly better. The front lawns, although still larger than the back yards, are a slightly more livable size, and most of us have garages in the back, giving some purposes to that under-used back lane and eliminating the jutting obtrusive garage phenomenon.
I admire those neighbourhoods with mixed zoning, where single-family homes coexist with apartments and corner stores and libraries and garages. My neighbourhood feels very class-dominated at times. At the heart is the inner sanctum - those multi-million dollar houses which back onto the lake. This circle is surrounded by the estate houses from which you can see but not access the lake, and they in turn are protected by the gatekeeper houses, which back onto the estate but which face a busy street and the lesser areas of the neighbourhood.
The non-estate area, where I live, is comprised of comfortable middle-class houses with smaller front yards (which is actually a blessing). Our part of the neighbourhood, quite literally looks down upon smaller, more modest houses in the Downs area.
The houses that I passed on my way home yesterday, those that back onto the estate where the rich people live, all display sweeping expanses of immaculate lawn with a long stretch of double car driveway sloping down to the street. They are impressive houses, architecturally imposing, as they look down their driveways at the rest of us. But when you look behind these houses, they appear as nothing more than a facade. The back yards are so tiny you could easily spit the length of them, made even smaller than necessary by the never-used back lane.
It's not like anyone ever uses these front yards, either, except to mow the grass, rake the leaves, and shovel the driveway. Instead, they huddle in their tiny back yards, fenced off from the rest of the world and the people next door, protected by the caste system of suburbia.
Is there a defined class structure in your neighbourhood?