Wednesday, May 14, 2008
East Side/West Side Rift
My driver's license is about to expire. Actually, it will expire in a month, but I thought I would be responsible and get it renewed now. I remembered from when I was 16 the horrors of going to get my license: the long wait (four hours!) and the insane lines. I look so angry in my old photo. I didn't want my new license to be that way. So, I prepared.
I looked up the location of the office I had to go to. I looked up the hours it was open, and I decided to go there as early as I could, eight AM, in order to beat the crowds of people. I even looked up directions. I was set; nothing could stop me. As I drove to the office I thought about how good it was that I was getting things done on time. I had foreseen every little problem. Except for the office not existing.
I turned onto the street the office was supposed to be on and I only saw houses. Frustrated, I drove on adjacent streets to try to flush out the office. No luck. Finally, I called Joey and had him look up the address. According to the state's website, this location doesn't exist. He gave me the address of the closest office and I set off to go there.
For some reason, there seems to be a rift between the East and West sides of the Salt Lake Valley. If you aren't familiar with the state, the West side is more working class and the East side contains more cultural spots, with a few exceptions. Although I grew up on the West side and currently live on the East side, I couldn't figure out how to cross from one side to the other. Literally. I only needed to drive four or five blocks east to get to the office, but all of the roads I went on were dead ends. Then, when I got angry and tried to drive home I got stuck on a bunch of dead end streets. I had to backtrack all the way to where I started to figure out how to get home.
Some people say that there is a divide between the two sides of the valley. I can remember growing up and hearing the the kids who lived on the East side were all white snobs. There is far less development in parts of the West side, and so the land value is low there. I think things would improve if there was an easy way to traverse between the two sides. Not only do some of the roads end abruptly but the train often sits between the two sides, barring any way to get across. As I drove around I saw many interesting places: Asian and Latino markets, an Islamic temple and some good restaurants. I would love to go to them and I think other people would visit them if they could easily drive from the East side to the West.
I think this is the issue I should run for governor on.