St. Louis makes a huge distinction between St. Louis City and St. Louis County, much like most cities I’ve visited. One thing I’ll say for the City: Being older, it has a whole lot more character. The St. Louis suburbs are, well, for the most part pre-fab, cookie-cutter, chain-infested boroughs. An outsider would have a hard time telling the difference between Mehlville and Oakville. It takes some looking to find a building more than 50 or 60 years old, and chances are few of the buildings you do find will still be standing in 60 years. I live in the county because I work in the county, and the City taxes you if you live in the City but work in the county–the intent of that law is to punish executives who work in the City but live in ritzy suburbs like Clayton or Ladue or Town & Country, but young professionals like me who live in the city because we like it but who happen to be employed in the county take a tax hit. Really, that kind of living should be encouraged–we’re bringing suburban money into the city, and during rush hour we’re driving against traffic, lessening congestion. And young professionals tend to eat out a lot and spend lots of money. If anything, there should be a slight tax incentive to live in the city and work in the county. But, once again, there are obviously issues involved here that are beyond the capacity of my little brain.
So I now live in the suburbs. But I prefer the City because I like character, and St. Louis is an old enough city to have some character (Europeans will scoff at that, but consider our standards–and really, you can develop some character in 150-200 years).
I’m meeting two friends for lunch later today. Both of them live in the City. One asked where to meet and where to go. I didn’t suggest Burger King in Oakville. But, typical of males, none of us could decide where to go, so I piped in. “Well, aren’t we just the bastions of decisiveness. Look, I’m Suburban Boy. There are great places in both of your neighborhoods, but I don’t know what they are. I’ll defer to your better judgment.”
Well, there’s a deli within a mile or two of where one of them lives that’s supposed to be out of this world. So that’s where we’re going. I know, in this day and age Subway has totally homogenized our idea of a deli, so a good local deli, when you can find one, is a delight. Two local chains used to have locations near where I work. There was Ruma’s, in Concord Village, which was good, and there was Amighetti’s in Crestwood, which was to die for. Both locations are now a Quizno’s. Quizno’s isn’t bad but you can’t get a giant pickle there like you could at Ruma’s, and there’s nothing on Earth that compares to Amighetti’s bread–you could cook yourself up a big ol’ hunk o’ tire and put it on Amighetti’s bread and it’d taste good, if not fabulous. And it didn’t hurt that the girls who worked there were all drop-dead gorgeous. Man, I miss that place. St. Louis has a great Italian heritage, and we’re willing to sell it all out to Subway and Quizno’s.
So.. A neighborhood deli where I can eat outside and converse with two really cool people… Sounds great to me.
I happened upon your site a few days ago when I plodded in the words “Ruma’s Deli” into my search field and clicked on GO. I was simply looking for the phone number for the Ruma’s on Hampton; Silicon Underground; being a phrase that I am not accustomed to seeing or hearing caught my attention when it popped up in a link in my search results. Actually I have no idea what it means. Anyhow, I clicked on the link that led me to your archives and spent a few hours reading through a lot of your writings. The computer focused articles I don’t understand much of but still it provides for interesting reading. In all honesty I am not sure what the purpose of the site is, but I’ve found myself going back to it each day since I stumbled onto earlier this week. I look forward to reading what might be happening in your life, kind of like the reality shows. Keep up the great writing; I know I’ll be back to read more.
Thanks for writing. “Silicon Underground” had a bunch of meanings when I came up with it. Some of them were inside jokes that I’ve forgotten. It seemed appropriate because I’ve always preferred alternative or “underground” computer systems you don’t typically see everyday (Linux, Amiga, OS/2, and the like–the Macintosh is too mainstream for me) and when I do deal in Windows, it’s obscure stuff, and often stuff that Microsoft doesn’t particularly want to be widely known. So the name seemed appropriate.
I got bored only writing about computers all the time, so I branched back out into other topics (I have a journalism degree from Mizzou and in my first three years there I wrote hundreds of news stories and editorials, only a handful about computers) but I kept the name.
I’ve argued with people numerous times about what the purpose of sites like this one is. People get mad when I call them “ego pages.” Truth is, sometimes I write just to see how many people will show up and read. Mostly it’s to keep me sharp though. I can try a new topic and see almost immediately what the reaction will be. And all the great writers wrote something every day, to stay sharp. This site keeps me sharp in between paid writing gigs.
I think I’ve dodged all your questions. 🙂