Sunday, August 23, 2009

Life in the Big City

I've spent the weekend in Washington, DC, returning No. 2 son to college and checking up on No. 1 who lives a few miles away, and it reminded me once again how much different life in the Big City is compared to mine.

I'm not just talking about the traffic or the bad drivers (more than half of them don't have driver's licenses or vehicles that have been inspected, according to my personal law enforcement expert), or the humongous modern buildings and millions of people. I'm talking about the creative innovations ... and hoping they'll someday reach New Hampshire.

For example, I had no idea that someone had invented an escalator for shopping carts. Does this make me a total rube? When No. 2 son and I embarked upon a last-minute outfit-the-dorm-room shopping expedition, we discovered the Target had two floors -- and 2 escalators for people and 2 for shopping carts. "We've got to go upstairs so we can try this," I exclaimed. Once again, No. 2 son gave me the look that reminds me he set my password as "crazy mom." I didn't care. It seemed very cool to someone who lives in town without an escalator of any kind. He agreed to accompany me, along with our shopping cart moving next to us, but drew the line on just-for-fun repeat trips.

(And, by the way, in case anyone is wondering, unlike last year's trip-to-college adventure, I did not bring the night light for his room -- although I certainly considered it. But I digress.)

Then there are the food innovations -- restaurants featuring food from nearly every country. Who knew there were so many varieties of Latin chicken? But the one place I'm most anxious to try features hot, handmade-dipped design-your-own donuts or you can order off the Fractured Prune's menu. Imagine varieties like Reese Cup® (peanut butter glaze, mini chocolate chips); Creamsicle (orange glaze, powdered sugar); Chocolate Covered Cherry: cherry glaze, mini chocolate chips Morning Buzz (mocha glaze, Oreo® cookie crumbs) and Strawberry Shortcake (strawberry glaze, graham cracker, powdered sugar). This is taking donuts to a whole new level. Who wouldn't appreciate a place with the motto -- "you create 'em, we make 'em"?

And, if you feel slightly ill after eating one of these confections, the Washington, DC, area is home to a number of walk-in medical clinics -- a concept yet to reach my part of the world. I was most intrigued by the MinuteClinics inside some of the CVS drugstores in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs (and about 22 other states). They're open seven days a week, employ nurse practitioners and physician assistants "trained to diagnose and treat common illnesses, minor injuries and skin conditions," and offer health screenings and vaccinations without appointments -- all at a cost of between $30 and $110 and "reimbursed by most insurance plans." So you can pick up some cough drops and a strep test in a single visit. Talk about convenience.

When I see innovations like these, it makes me wonder what will come next -- and about the creators of these concepts. It also makes me wonder why I'm not one of them. Maybe I need one of those designer donuts to inspire me. I'll let you know....

How about you? Spotted any innovations in your part of the world that might amaze and astound the rest of us?

1 comment:

CassyM said...

I can't tell you how excited I was when Starbucks opened a drive-through branch.