VOTE NO

by Nicole Rossa

with illustrations by Taylor Sanderson

 The big news around my neighborhood is that they want to build a new park. The proposed location is just a few blocks from my house on an unused piece of land. That it just so happens would be a great place for liquor store or swanky apartments. You know, the kind of place that provides much-needed revenue and employment for a small suburban city.

Normally, I’m a ragin’ maniac for public parks. I assure you — if this park were a good idea — I would be wildly posting about it on social media  — Like I do with everything.  I like trees and despite being very allergic to nature, I believe parks are great spaces for community members to connect. However, I live in an entertainment district.

An entertainment district is a polite way to say the street with all the bars on it. Some people feel the neighborhood I live in can be unsafe. And sometimes it is. That’s the magic of a bar drag. It isn’t safe, not for everyone and especially not for children. That’s the way I like it. A nice street full of booze and food with no kids around!

I like the way the air around my house smells like french fries and flat top grease come 6 pm. When I take the dog for a walk, I like to see all the people dressed up in clothes they hope to have piled up on a stranger’s floor by morning. Some days, I see barfs in the doorways on my way to get coffee. I imagine how much fun those revelers were having before, ya know, they started vomiting everywhere. They were probably swaying arm-in-arm marching down the street and singing until one of them started blowing chunks. “I bet that person is hurting now”, I think to myself and smile wistfully. Occasionally, I’ll hear shouting in the distance when I’m in my yard. Kind of unnerving but I appreciate knowing the unpredictable entertainment district awaits me just a block from my door if I were so inclined to visit it on a Tuesday.

What I don’t like is so-called neighbors trying to build another damn park full of swing sets and teeter-totters. The proposed project is mere steps away from where I drank a martini the size of my head last summer! Okay, I admit it I drank three. Stay with me here. If we let ~families~ have their way, they will gobble up all the good bars, pubs, and ultra lounges, turning them into baby-gyms, dinner prep stores, and Reiki parlors. Babies should be fat! You can chop vegetables in your kitchen. I want to talk trash about Reiki right here but I don’t understand it at all. (I think the Reiki master just kinda hovers around you until you give up and agree that you feel better.) Anyway, I already have a way to feel better while being barely touched by a stranger. It’s called drinking at the bar and it sometimes ends with hugs, usually in the ladies restroom. Does the Reiki master give hugs? Maybe? Again, I wouldn’t know.

Ask yourself; do you really want an avenue of funky sock shops and ice cream parlors? You don’t. Trust me. Once those damn families gut your favorite watering hole to make way for a teddy bear studio, you’ll rue the day you let that park set down slides.

Listen, I vote in favor of school levies, every time. I’m happy to pay taxes so the kids can get laptops. I want kids to have neighborhoods full of inspirational murals but can it please be on another street? Maybe over by the other actual park(s) that is literally a few blocks away? Pick any direction and start walkin’, you’ll hit a park.

Let’s say, those park people have their way — a million-and-one playgrounds as far as the eye can see. Those tee-totaling toddler huggers will have the entire city squeaky clean! Vegetarian Chick’N nuggets will be the only food served in jarringly well-lit diners while babies wail in booster seats around you.

But that child-friendly reality will take years to manifest. Instead, the entertainment district — THE BARS — will be stuck with a playground in the middle of it for the foreseeable future! Who doesn’t love a play space next to one of the city’s busiest roadways? “Sure kid, run after that loose ball.”

And who will maintain this new public space? I don’t know about you but as a resident, I’m all volunteered out at the moment. Do not email blast me about a community weed pull or so help me! Like I don’t have my own yard to ignore.

Besides, do you know what happens when drunk, grown-ass adults see a swing set? Pure carnage. Twenty-somethings will be struck down in their prime, arms broken, ankles twisted and heads cracked open on the mulch like rotten cantaloupes. And don’t get me started on the fights! A gazebo is just a landmark for everyone who has ever lived by a gazebo to remember a fight that happened at the gazebo. I beg of you, DO NOT BUILD THIS PARK! Trust me, I’m not just saying this because I got my ass kicked in a gazebo once or because I tore my ACL jumping off the top of a spiral slide, or even because I need alcohol so I don’t get the shakes at night. I’m saying this because I want you to think about your kids. Not “THE KIDS” but YOUR kids. Let’s get real. By the time this park is built, they’ll be in college and old enough to want to go out and party. And since they still live at home wouldn’t it be nice to have a place you can send them to play? Vote NO on this build another park nonsense! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear a martini in the distance calling my name.

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