We went for a combination of reasons: April 7 was forecast to be one of the warmer and sunnier days of 2012, so far, and Jaime had never seen the Falls. What we learned when we arrived is that the pedestrian trail that allows you descend to a below-looking-up perspective is closed until 2013, leaving 50% of the usual water + gravity+ precipice experience unavailable to us; or so we thought. What we learned, having discovered the parameters of our visit, was that the facilities around the Falls are a lovely little attractor of the populus americanus vulgaris.
Afterward, we drove through several new subdivisions for 40 or so minutes, mostly taking in scenery.
We learned a few things:
- It appears the most common activity on a Saturday is to back your two or three cars out into the driveway (the car capacity of your garage being, apparently, one of the many customizable elements of your D.R. Horton, Quadrant, et al. abode) and then do something out in the garage, with the door open, inevitably exposing your activity to the gaze of your across-the-street neighbors, who, one senses, probably do have some interest in what the Sanders or the Joneses are up to this particular day.
- Two out of three people doing whatever it is they are doing out there* will pause and wave as you drive past and you get the feeling they recognize you immediately as being from outside the neighborhood, the number of homes and the layouts of the streets being conducive to pretty easily keeping an inventory of the cars and the owners who in fact do live within your plat***.
- Contrary to the image from the website (above) family groups were uncommon. Ditto the improbably-hot blond wives with the coy-yet-inviting cant to their heads. What were common were 1-3 kids playing on a slope of driveway near an empty street, subtly expressionless men**** in t-shirts carrying leaf blowers***** or following pink-biked daughters along sidewalks, and groups of 2-4 mothers walking in comfortably athletic clothing with expensive looking strollers.
- Each subdivision has signs in places that are not built-out yet, which announce what will be there on some unannounced date; i.e. "Future Retail/Residential."
- There are very intentional looking restaurants at the mouths of each residential tributary, which are either slick-looking ethnic eateries (e.g. "Moshi Sushi & Mongolian Grill"******) or American restaurants whose menus are discernible from their names (e.e.g. "Paul's Old Fashioned Burgers" or "The Brick Pizza and Brew"). All are in impossibly neat looking buildings and offer just enough lushly landscaped parking to allow them to fill up on Thursdays through Sundays.
** It being April, one rightly points out there were no leaves.
***It also appears that the website has a resident directory, available only to those with a login.
****There were no men in pairs or groups. One got the sense that groups of men look suspiciously feral out there.
*****I cannot overstate the mystifying frequency of leaf blowers we encountered.
******The cultural mash-up is sic.