Trapped in the Suburbs
I live in the suburbs and I can’t stand it. The thing is, I can’t leave. The suburbs have always been a place where I feel like you hurry up to be bored. In the city – mine is Philadelphia – there are oodles of museums to explore, fountains to splash in when the temperatures rise (so what if you’re not supposed to), coffee shops to work in and places around the corner to discover and, in the suburbs, there’s Target.
A whole bunch of soccer.
But the ‘burbs have the schools. Philadelphia schools are abysmal. The ones that are worth it? I would need to be an executive to afford or learn very quickly how to go about life without the use of my arm and my leg. So, I am stuck in la-la land counting down the years, months, days, until I can ditch four-lane highways of congested traffic for a violent, dirty city that has art.
And the Liberty Bell and Benjamin Franklin everywhere and the birth place of the free library.
There is the whole parallel parking thing which sends every suburbanite into a panic attack. I know my anxiety level over the parking situation would be through the roof, but there’s theatre! And cheese steaks on every block. But not Pat’s and Geno’s because only tourists go there and you never want to eat a cheese steak when it has to proclaim its authenticity. So, as a warning, if a place says “authentic Philly cheese steak” it is, in fact, an imposter.
I know that I rarely leave my lap top, but I like the idea of being able to get up and walk to wherever it is I want to go. Yes, of course I would probably hate it if my wish was granted, but in my fantasy life I would like to walk somewhere. Anywhere. If I did that now, I would become road kill. Sometimes there are sidewalks. Emphasis on sometimes.
I know people do things in the ‘burbs, but what?
I’ve lived here for far too long and I barely do anything. That’s the problem, remember? There is only so much shopping one person can do. What about the other 23 hours out of the day? Can I get a book reading? Just one teensy, little book reading? What about –because this is about the kids – a day camp that doesn’t cost the equivalent of half-a-year’s salary? What about a block party?
If only the schools were better, I would have been gone yesterday.
Talking about wanting to live in the city on the soccer field is social suicide. Mainly because it screams LIBERAL without actually walking around with a donkey. But it’s where I want to be so I make the mistake of telling people like they actually want to hear something when they ask me “How are you?” And I reply with “slowly dying of boredom.”
See, my attitude would fit right in.
Do you feel you belong somewhere other than where you are? If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Image via Flickr [micholitzii]