My latest endeavor is Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” which I’m glad to say I've almost finished. It's taken me more than three weeks— which is longer than it took travelers to cross the mosquito-ridden Isthmus of Panama on foot in the 19th century. Thankfully, “War and Peace” didn't give me malaria or yellow fever, but it did give me a headache a couple of times.
But for many, reading a classic book sounds — well, boring. If I may be perfectly honest, many of them are boring. “War and Peace” probably fits that bill — it definitely isn't a fast-paced thriller, like the books novelist James Patterson churns out every 50 seconds. In fact, I daresay most of us would prefer drilling a hole in our skulls with an unsharpened No. 2 pencil to suffering through “War and Peace.”
I thought Tolstoy would fulfill my summer quota of boring reading material, but I’ve found something else to keep me occupied— the proposed general plan for the city of Patterson. After seeing it was available online for public review, I decided to check it out. Dude, it’s long. Like, really long. I started reading some of it, and I felt my eyes glazing over like when my seventh-grade English teacher gave a lecture on adverbs.
But it's important for all of us to be aware of what is happening in our city. From what I’m gathering from the report, there are plans to significantly expand the city’s residential and commercial areas by building on farm and pasture lands. Such an expansion could have an impact on the environment, traffic, and, last, but not least, surface water and groundwater availability for residents and farmers. Water is an important issue in any general plan, of course, for water is not an unlimited resource. After all, no one has figured out a way to make water in a factory the way Willy Wonka can make chocolate bars with golden tickets.
So, if you're looking for something to read and aren't brave (or stupid) enough to tackle “War and Peace,” take a peek at the general plan proposal on the city of Patterson website, www.ci.patterson.ca.us/. It will keep you busy for an hour (or three!).
• Elizabette Guecamburu, a volunteer columnist for the Irrigator, is a writer and a native Patterson resident. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.