News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Reston: Where the The Trim Colors Are Mandatory But Indoor Plumbing (Supposedly) Isn't

terlet.jpgIt's Thanksgiving, which means it's time once again to think of those less fortunate, including the folks who live in the identical-looking townhouse/rambler/whatever down the street cluster with the identical BMWFord Focus and the identical DRB-approved trim colors but who, unbeknownst to us all, don't have indoor plumbing. Wait, what?

Our BFFs at Patch are at it again, with another one of their fancy data-driven maps based on Census statistics. Only this one's a bit... odd. Even though (most of us) don't live in a fancy Super Zip, we find it hard to believe that the DRB, what with its eagle-eyed focus on the horrors of white stone and red mulch, would have slacked off on a little detail like 7.8 percent of the homes between Lake Anne and Reston Town Center lacking running water and terlets and whatnot. But that's just what this fancy map suggests:

No Terlets.jpg

The spots in DRB-friendly light green, probably correctly, say 0 percent of the homes in those Zip codes lack plumbing. The others range from 5.8 percent in (snicker) North Reston to 0.4 percent in the Glade. Even 2 percent of all those fancy condos and townhouses in our fake downtown gritty urban core supposedly don't have indoor plumbing, which, wow, makes us think it's a bit more gritty than we originally gave it "props" for, as the kids certainly no longer say.

Poverty is a real and growing problem here (and everywhere). Lack of indoor plumbing? Probably not so much.

Amusingly, that big dark green swath near the top of the map includes all the fancy McMansions just outside of Reston's boundaries. Who knows, maybe they counted all the semi-constructed ones that sat vacant after the real estate crash. Or maybe the rich are different from you and I amuse themselves by messing with Census employees' heads when they show up with their clipboards. "Sure, I have a three-story lawyer foyer and an attractive live-in au pair from a consonant-intensive country, but darn the luck, we simply couldn't afford a sewer connection. Want to check the chamberpot under the granite countertops?"

In conclusion, if you decide to rent or buy a hip new vowel-free residence, make sure the toilet in the model isn't just there for show. Also, numbers are dumb, the end.


  1. Maybe this explains this blue port-a-potty outside the library?

  2. Just to be clear. We are still BFFs. but these data stories are reason no. 122 why I could not work there one more day. Please read for NEWS.

  3. But how many of those homes have ce-ment ponds?

  4. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonNovember 27, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    The only way this map makes even remote sense is if it were showing houses that are on septic and not hooked up to a sewer system.

    And Karen, thank you for providing all of us some real reporting and not the inane garbage that passes for journalism these days. Local news is hopeless, and even the national networks are starting to go that way. Poor Peter Jennings must be spinning in his grave looking at what Diane Sawyer has done to ABC's once highly respected evening news. I'm surprised they haven't yet retitled that newscast "The ABC Health, Lifestyle, Human Interest, and General Feel Good News with Diane Sawyer."

  5. I hope the real Karen Goff is not the one making derogatory comments about her former workplace...

  6. Yeah, we have water and sewer at our house but I still prefer my neighbor's vegetable garden and occasionally the tree line behind my Halfway House.

  7. With four bathrooms and two adults, the bases are never loaded here...but even though we're more into vowel movements than the aforementioned consonant-heavy environment, there is a certain retro-chic panache about a vintage porta-potty...


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