The Suburbs: Not an Urban Legend

Annoyingly, I didn’t want to like the suburbs. Instead, I prefer to align myself with eclectic Aaryn, whose vision is to buy an urban loft with open common areas for diversity and individual expression. I thought (hoped?) the suburbs would be too plebian, too vanilla for my delusional hippish tastes and if I didn’t like the suburbs, that would mean I were somehow cool.




So I like the suburbs.


We keep the front and back doors open. Bunnies hop over our patio. Every chain restaurant is within three miles (Olive Garden’s bread sticks are tragically underrated). We walk to school. The kids play in the cul de sac until it’s dark.


All the things we thought we’d get by moving? We got in spades. It’s like a parody of our dreams were made live in technicolor and surround sound. And I’m thinking, really? This move was a lark. I thought the suburbs were a myth. A story propagated by people who would jealously rather live in the city.


But no. It’s weirdo dreamy. People smile at you on the street. Trader Joe’s is one exit down. The YMCA is packed. These days, I consider that kind of stuff, gold.


Also! A mom with a son in Toot’s kindergarten class flagged me down as I walked home with the kids after school last week. She wanted to talk. There was camaraderie! And even bonding! Last year, in our old town, the preschool moms took 8 months to even acknowledge my presence.


Also? A girl Toots’ age knocks on our door daily asking if Toots “can play.” And then they join the other kids to frolic outside. Toots and Booger even have boy nemesises (nemesi?) who chase them with Nerf Guns. Just like the suburbs in my head would be.


Many evenings, porch chairs perch in driveways as moms and dads watch the kids hijinking, while on weekends we gather in the street and chat as the hooligans ribbon around us. There’s talk of lighted address signs, the best places to buy Escalades, and tropical landscaping, but The Rock and I tune it out and focus instead on the hide-and-seekers, the scooter-riders, and the trampoline-jumpers.


Pros and cons. Pros and cons.


In short? The kids are happy as lambs.


And that was the point.


Still…really on the crickets?


16 thoughts on “The Suburbs: Not an Urban Legend

  1. So funny! I have been in the suburbs and even rural Wisconsin for the last 9 years- having a rather love/hate relationship with the peace and quiet/YMCA/Chain restaurant/neighborhood block party of it all. And now I am in a big city in Japan of all places.

    I am so glad that you and your family are EMBRACING your new life- that is the key to happy, blissed-out days and nights…no matter where you are :)

    Love to you guys xoxox

  2. I think it’s a cool thing for a family to experience several different environments over a lifetime – especially children. I grew up strictly in suburbs for my first 20 years, and I chafed at it – but my son has lived in a variety of inner-city and rural environments, and even three months in a high-rise small apartment. I think having different ways of life opened his world.

    Your suburb sounds a lot like an idealized small-town from from our generation – and a great place to raise a kid.

    Whatever works, you know? you can get the loft apartment when you’re an empty-nester – that or live on a boat!

  3. It’s the real conversations that are awesome right. You go to a restaurant and the waiter is actually friendly. People pass and say HI in CAPS not hi in mutter or the infamous eye to the ground approach.

    and the quiet. we’re moving upstairs to the 2nd floor and finally we’ll be off the street. no more drunks yelling coming thru our balcony door.

    ah…..quiet. :)

  4. I’ve always lived in the suburbs. But this is the first place where everything that is hyped about is real. Also a good and not so good thing about this place is that the street lamps are few and far between. The stars are amazing but well anything can happen in the dark.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying your new place more and more.

  5. So glad you like it! Sure, there will be days you grow weary of the doorbell forever chiming with the neighbor kid standing there again when just five minutes ago you said “Not right now, honey…”

    Oh, and then there are the cicadas, but really, they’re short-lived. All in all, the suburbs, they are good. :)

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