Life in the Small City

 
One of the most remarkable things about living in Reading is how small my world is. In the U.S. I live in a totally suburban setting, where driving is required to do just about everything. In Reading, I live in a small city and, on a daily basis, need a car for almost nothing.
 
For example, it’s a rather pleasant 7-minute walk from my flat to the office in the morning. On the way I stop in at the news agent (convenience store) to pick up my breakfast yogurt. At lunchtime, when I need to run errands, I may go from my office to the Central Library (2-minute walk) then up to my bank (3-minute walk) and the Post Office (next door) then circle back down into the pedestrian mall to Boots (the drug store, 2-minute walk) then over to pick up a take-away salad at Picnic (best salads in town, 2-minute walk), and then head back to the office (3-minute walk).
 
Everything is in a such a small area and is relatively uncrowded. Queuing (getting in line) for service anywhere usually means 1-2 people ahead of you, tops. Yet the mall features modern retail outlets: major department stores, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Disney Store, Gap, multi-screen cinema, and so forth – not little village shops.
 
On a nice day, it’s extremely pleasant to go out and about. Even when it rains, I’m barely outside long enough to get wet. I’ve gotten very comfortable with my "small neighborhood" here and, I fear, quite spoiled by it all.
 
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