Tonight I went to meet with some local game developers in an office complex in Cary. I was very excited to go, but not excited to drive through Cary.
Cary is a special kind of terrible. About a third of the town is made up of brand-new retail and office complexes. There is a lot of parking because you can’t walk anywhere. No, seriously, there aren’t any sidewalks, and you’d have to walk over the manicured grass and perfect planters. Speaking of manicures, every complex in Cary has to have a nail salon, otherwise it will be shut down. It’s a zoning law, I think.
Strangely, even though all the buildings and roads in these complexes are brand-new, the traffic patterns are insane, like in parts of Boston or DC that were laid out before the horseless carriage made its appearance. There are a surprising amount of blind turns and three-way intersections.
Between these brightly-lit commerce hubs are divided highways with lots of nothing on both sides. That nothing is rural backdrop for the people who live in the McMansions on cul-de-sacs to look at as they commute. If you miss your turn, or get confused about which highway by which Target you should be on, or perhaps find yourself on the right divided highway with nothing on both sides, but going on the wrong direction, do not think you can make the first right and go back. Here in Cary, you can not make four rights to return to your original location. Don’t be fooled.
See, the part of Cary that isn’t brand-new retail complexes is made up of brand-new housing developments. If you make a turn off the highway, and it’s not into a shopping center, you just turned into a brand-new housing development. These can be spotted because they have names likes Windsor Pines and Preston Fields, but by the time you can see the name, you can also see the No Outlet sign and the speedbumps. There are always speedbumps to help residents transition between the highways and the cul-de-sacs.
The whole thing is terribly depressing. There are plenty of other reasons I might have been so unhappy there — I couldn’t find a job that wasn’t waitressing, I had very few creative outlets, and I was pretty much constantly worried about money — but a lot of it was waking up every day in that sea of ugly. If I were being tortured in Room 101, it would be Cary, North Carolina. And I would immediately tell the Ministry of Love all my secrets.
The weirdest part of awful Cary is that it routinely makes lists for Best Places to Live. Year after year. Apparently people who aren’t me really love it! I hear about the great “quality of life” in that area, and I just wonder what that could possibly mean.