On Suburbia

The name of my blog used to be “SuburbaPhobe”.  I named it so for reasons that, at the time, only I was aware of.  Over time, I began to realize it might be offensive to readers who didn’t understand where I was coming from, or the journey I’ve taken that has led me to here.  Although the new name is more fitting to where I am in life now, I still have feelings about Suburban living that I might not be able to get out in one sitting.  But I can try.  Or at least begin.

Suburbia is a safe haven – a place of low crime, safe schools, and conveniences on every street corner.  We left the city and moved to Suburbia 11 years ago, as a place to raise our (then future) children.  The plan at the time was for me to stop working and be a full-time mom when our first was born.  (This, by the way, is a decision I have never one single time regretted)  We knew that we could not afford to live among millionaires and send our kids to the best public school in the metroplex, nor could we afford to send them to private school.  We were left with one choice: leave the city.  This is another decision I don’t regret making, because I can only imagine that if we had stayed, my kids would be attending one of the worst public ISDs in the nation, and we would be living in an exponentially less-safe neighborhood than we do now. 

My family is thriving here, but I haven’t quite found my “place” yet.  I have made a lot of acquaintances, yet only a handful friends, only one of whom still live nearby.  The others have moved away to different cities.  I still keep up with them but it’s not like it used to be.  They are no longer “Friends with Skin” I can meet for coffee or play dates.  They are my Yahoo IM and Google Chat buddies now, and we watch each others’ kids grow up on Facebook instead of with our own eyes.

The Suburbia where I live is a transient, thrown-together place where quantity seems to be more sought-after than quality.  I am surrounded on all sides by “$100,000 Millionaires”.  This is term my hubby coined for people who live (way) beyond their means.  

The Suburbia I am phobic of is one where the inhabitants buy the biggest house they can so that it looks impressive from the street,  yet the inside is barely furnished because they can’t afford it.  (Yes, this realllllly happens around here)  Or the flip side, which I also know to be true firsthand, is where the 3-car garage is so full of junk, it only fits one car, so the other 2 have to park on the street.  The area where cars should be parked is filled with mounds and mounds of unopened bags from shopping sprees which I can only imagine were ineffective searches for something that money can’t buy, i.e. happiness, contentment, etc…

Don’t get me wrong; I love to shop, and I like a pedicure as much as the next gal, but when is enough enough?  I have 7 Starbucks in a 5-mile radius of my home.  There are more nail salons than that, and more banks even than that.  Has convenience replaced common sense?  Excessive replaced adequate?  Too much replaced more than enough?

It makes my head spin.  And don’t get me started on the people… I will save that for another post.  I know that people are people wherever you go, but the longer I live, the more I realize that stereotypes exist for valid and proven reasons.

I have nothing tangible to complain about life in Suburbia.  We have a beautiful home, access to more forms of retail than I will ever have money to spend, and great, safe schools for the kids.  Life is good.  But as for the intangible things, Suburbaphobia is my little crusade against the banal, the unimaginative, and the colorless.  This is where I get to say my peace to you instead of the neighbors, who would just look at me with blank stares.  

You are welcome to look at me with a blank stare, but I’d rather see the light and the fight in your eyes, expressed in the form of comments.  

What do you think? I'd love to hear from you!

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