June 16th, 2009
The suburban Chicago house where I lived for 8 years, so I should just shut up.
Dudes. Oh, dudes.
It’s pretty official.
We’re moving to the ‘burbs.
I know I say this like I’m some elitist hipster who can’t deign herself to live in two-story houses next to greenbelts, but no. Rather, I’m saying this like WHY IS IT SO QUIET IN THE SUBURBS?
It’s creepy, no? Where are the sirens? The bums rustling through your garbage? The pot smokers dropping their bongs? Not to mention, there’s not a peep from the homeless guy you almost run over in your driveway.
I make it sound like we live with Snoop Dogg. Not true, it’s just that our little neighborhood is very colorful and eclectic and dynamic and full of homeless people. Also, there’s a wonderful music scene and involved civic organization and the beach, the beach! And maze-y alleys and freaky nooks and dusty crannies and WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
Also, are there non-Starbucks in the suburbs? Because that would be good. My little community fought the encroachment of Starbucks for years. Still, it is here. That DAMN mermaid. I’d love to see Ariel and the Starbucks mermaid in a celebrity death match.
Will I be able to say those things in the suburbs?
Still, The Rock and I visited what-may-be-our-house this afternoon and endured the preternatural silence and wondered, “Is this what it is like to relax? Because, weird. It feels foreign and cumbersome.”
Then we went to the park around the corner to discuss our next move and while doing so, felt itchy under the collective collar. No one was yelling. Speaking out of turn even. We had no idea what to do with ourselves.
In addition, things were very green and lush. Landscaped, I dare say. Also, no cigarette butts lining the curbs! No used Trojans. WHAT ARE WE DOING?
I sound like such a holier-than-thou. For years, I’ve countered stereotypes and misconceptions about my awesome ass community. People thinking my neighborhood was full of stoners, aimless twenty-somethings and serial surfers. And it is. But it’s also one of the most family-oriented, close-knit places where you could hope to live. And interesting. Every day, The Rock breakfasts on the boulevard with writers and artists and designers and the like.
So when I stereotype the suburbs, I’m guilty of labeling too. It’s just that it’s very quiet. And like I said: disconcerting. There will be energy, right? And a thrum?
I feel like I’m being pulled out of a socket.
So why are we moving, you may ask?
It’s about seasons. Life phases. Cycles.
The Rock and I now are parents to two young children and they are confined to our freaking cool modern house unless we take them outside. Where “outside” is the alley. Our home has no yard. No sidewalk. In fact, we are situated behind another home and next to apartments on the west side and endlessly-moving-in-and-out tenants on the east. It’s time to think of what’s best for the kids at this point in their lives. And what we think will most benefit the kids are the suburbs.
The house we most likely will move into is on a cul-de-sac, within walking distance to a highly-rated elementary school, and has Christmas light hooks already affixed to the roof. I don’t know, this is probably the wet dream of parents who have no imagination, but we want to give that to our girls for awhile, you know?
Believe me, I asked God to guide me. And my mom in heaven. I said, “Just tell me what to do. Am I being an idiot? Is it better to raise more urban kids? Those accustomed to no sidewalks and alleys and dumpster divers? Because if you give me a lightning bolt sign that, yes it is, then I will comply.
So, God? Mom? Anyone in heaven who wants to weigh in?”
And in the end, I guess it came down to The Rock and I. Perhaps that’s how God intended it. All I know is we went to that quiet park and Toots and Booger made quick friends with another girl and romped and gallivanted in open spaces and I imagined Christmas lights on the roof and if I’m being an idiot, then so be it.
P.S. The Rock and I are giving it a year.
P.P.S. A dad of a young son in a nearby kindergarten class just died from cancer, and I bet that family would love their most pressing issue to be whether they should move to the suburbs or not.
New possible-maybe-probably house. Does it look like a Teletubby? Or a freakishly jolly robot?