I don’t live in the city. I never have and I likely never will. Like many Americans who buy into parts of the American dream, the dream of my life with kids was always set against the backdrop of suburbia. I imagined green lawns, white picket fences, and uniformity.
It was against this backdrop that I imagined my kids growing up and me becoming a mom.
But, inside, well, inside, I kind of craved the city. I craved the hustle and bustle. I craved being able to use the words hustle and bustle in a sentence about the sidewalks near or in front of my small font yard. I craved yoga in the park and food stands and construction worker cat calls and people riding bikes in the middle of the street and yellow taxi cabs.
I craved city life. But, like many, I convinced myself that what I really wanted was what was best for our family. And what was best for our family? Why the suburbs, of course.
Now, a year into living in our home in the suburbs, I can say that I’m happy. I’ve crafted something of a yuppie existence here that I would not trade for anything, or that’s what I kept telling myself on the way to my sister’s house in the city last week.
You know you’re a suburbanite when…going to the city is like an exotic field trip.
It gets that way when you’ve grown accustomed to the much slower, wide lane pace of suburbia. It gets that way when, in being away from the city, you form all these ideas of the city and why you never wanted to live there anyway…the “violence” you hear about on the news, the lack of space, the cost of space, the lack of family orientation-ness. Yeah. I know. These aren’t exactly your reasons, but you make them your reasons because it sounds right.
And because they’re your reasons, when you (read: I) drive in the city, you (read: I) sit on the edge of my seat. You dress up. You wear shades. You, I mean, I, do all this because when I’m in the city, I feel a bit like a transplant with suburbia stamped on my back. I always want to fit in as a city-goer so I walk fast and with authority. I act like I belong. And I do belong, kind of.
“This is called the city,” I explained to Nya as we walked past a museum and a graffiti laden bridge with an old train atop and construction work happening the distance.
“Ohhhh. I see,” she said, sounding four times her age and with eyes glued on some homeless people who sat on benches near by.
When it’s over, you know that you’ve enjoyed your field trip, yes, but, on the way back to your suburban house, you sit in traffic and tell yourself again why you’d never live in the city. The traffic. The uptight-ness. The fast pace.”It’s just not me…”
“Yeah, I belong in the suburbs.”
Which do you prefer for your family: City living or Suburban living? And why?