Monday, August 01, 2005

The "J" factor?

Obviously in direct response to my Saturday post about suburban development, reporters and editors at the Savannah Morning News stayed up all night in order to have the first part of their series "Chatham's New Direction" ready on Sunday morning. Today's installment looks at the new residential construction erupting in the west part of Chatham County and asks, "Who's going to live in all these new houses?" It's a question Bill Dawers asked in his "City Talk" column several weeks ago. As usual, Bill's ahead of the curve.

In this morning's paper, a developer shares his theory about the origin of the folks who will be moving into these far-flung communities:

"It's what we call the 'J factor' -- the pattern of snowbirds coming down to retire in Florida, becoming disillusioned with the congestion and other things, and then hooking back up the coast into Georgia."

If I understand this correctly, retirees are fleeing the sprawl they helped to create in Florida, by moving up to Georgia to start the process all over again. In 5-10 years, their refuge will be indistinguishable from the environment they hoped to escape. I guess they figure they'll be dead before the sprawl gets bad enough to force them to move again. In the meantime, the J-factor crowd and their neighbors should get used to increased traffic on 1-16, I-95 and other limited access arteries that represent the only way in and out of these communities. Already, a morning pile up on eastbound I-16 results in empty desks all over Savannah at the start of the workday. And it's only going to get worse.

Back to Sunday's paper for a moment, I was pleased to see a wire story about Merlin Mann and his Hipster PDA. Finally people around here will understand what I'm doing with these index cards! I don't expect anyone to take advice on organization and efficiency from a guy who wastes trips to the library because he can't remember to take his library card or bicycle lock with him, but trust me, without Merlin's GTD hacks I probably wouldn't have remembered to bring my bicycle.

I discovered the good work Merlin's been doing after I woke up in the middle of the night worrying that I owed him $50 from a gig a decade ago. After I Googled him and read a little about his religion, I realized that waking up in the middle of the night and worrying over 10-year old debts is what GTD is supposed to prevent. Like the man says, get it out of your head and into a system you can trust. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer.

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