OUT OF CONTEXT: If you’re in the middle of nowhere, we’re practically neighbors

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I live in a small “town” in Anne Arundel County, Md., called Pasadena.

Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of it. A lot of the people who live here haven’t heard of it either.

Technically, Pasadena isn’t a “town.” It’s what’s known as a “census-designated place.” That means the U.S. Census Bureau knows that people live here but can’t understand why.

Pasadena is situated about halfway between Baltimore and Annapolis. On a map, it’s south-southwest of “Nowhere.”

Check it out. Put your finger on “Nowhere.” Now move it down and a little to the left — there’s Pasadena!

Usually when I tell people in the District that I live in Pasadena, they furrow their brows as they try to calculate my commute — from California. I always let them do the math before I tell them it’s not that Pasadena. (“Yeah, it’s a 28-hour drive one way, so I have to get up pretty early.”)

This “census-designated place” is what’s called a “bedroom community,” but I can tell you that the residents of Pasadena aren’t overly proud of their bedrooms.

Oh sure, you come to Pasadena for the bedrooms, but you stay for the garages. And let me assure you that most of the homes here also have kitchens and bathrooms — on the inside.

Pasadena isn’t what you could call a “destination”: People go to Ocean City; people go through Pasadena — most often when they’re lost. That’s how I found it.

My wife and I moved here because the homes were affordable, the schools were good, the neighborhood was quiet and the area was crime-free. Now, 20 years later, the schools are good.

If you don’t live here or know somebody who does, there’s no reason to come here. There are no large shopping centers, no sprawling mega-churches, no sporting or entertainment venues, no hotels or casinos, no historical or cultural landmarks, no tourist attractions.

Not surprising, every home in Pasadena has a big screen TV. It’s the law.

In Pasadena, one of the most enjoyable things to do is to go somewhere else — like Baltimore.

Or Annapolis.

Or even Hanover, which would be just another, run-of-the-mill bedroom community if it weren’t for its huge mall — Arundel Mills — with its 500-plus stores and more than two-dozen eateries, its 24-screen movie theater that serves popcorn shrimp and its medieval-themed restaurant that features knights jousting and horses leaping and wizards conjuring and damsels in need of rescue and … yeah, in Pasadena, going to Hanover is a big deal.

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About the Author
Carleton Bryant

Carleton Bryant

Carleton Bryant is the assistant managing editor for strategic planning and development/special projects for The Washington Times. He previously served as The Times’ Metropolitan desk editor, Features desk editor and an assistant National desk editor, as well as a National and Metropolitan reporter. He currently writes a humor blog and weekly humor column — both titled “Out of Context” — ...

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