I don’t fare well in the suburbs. In the suburbs, I find I feel kinda pressured to achieve the status quo, when I don’t even like the status quo. In the suburbs, you must conform. You must upgrade to granite countertops, install crown moulding, drive an SUV, fill your children’s weekends up with activities, host cookouts, join the PTO, and fuss over your property taxes. Before you know it, you’re sampling low-cal ranch dressing, selling catalog products, and painting your eyelashes til your blue eyes are green with spots of brown.
None of those things are particularly offensive to me, until they’re displayed en masse like a cult of Stepford Wives arriving with a basket of baked goods, sugar-free, of course, to lure you into their cult. I can’t breathe when I’m surrounded by so much *achem* perfection. The fringes of cashmere pashminas and the whiffs of Desperate Housewife perfume begin to choke and strangle me.
In suburbia, there will be no clotheslines, no chicken coops, no washing your car in the driveway.
I know this, because I’ve lived it.
In the city, you wave to your neighbors and you maybe chat over a fence. In a city, you assume people don’t want to be bothered, because, well, you don’t want to be bothered. People keep to their own business. Anonymity is possible. Anonymity appeals to me, like some naughty unattainable pleasure.
The city has dim sum and Starbucks. The city with its parks and punks by day and its lights and buzz by night — that’s appealing, too. Theaters, museums and zoos do please me so. Also, I thrive in diversity. Don’t make me tell you about the time I worked with nine white married Christian women, Jesus Fucking Christ, I could not get out of that place fast enough.
I loved living in the city. The hood, even. Not the ghetto *shakes head* — the hood.
In the country, you wave to everyone and only talk to people when you have a purpose. As in, “Hey, let’s have that tree between us cut down before it falls on the fence.”
But ah, the country. The air smells better, everything grows wild. I love to garden..Wildlife in your own backyard..but oh, coyotes. *frowns* I would love to raise chickens, and maybe even sheep or pigs from time to time. I should totally live on a dairy farm. I should buy a lotta cows. Ain’t nobody gettin milk for free, let alone organic milk from not-pregnant cows, mk? My cows would be happy, I’m just sayin.
Several years ago, Drew bought a property out in one of those “no stoplight” towns. Sweet little house, gorgeous lot with enormous Sycamores and a creek running along the back. Charming. But driving out there, alone in the darkness, on the gravel road, between cornfields, proved to be a little too eerie for me. I kept expecting Malachi to jump out?
At one point, I turned a corner and massive flood lights glared at me.
Initially, I thought alien spaceship, but it turned out to be combines.
As I am a true Midwesterner, I am no stranger to cornfields. In fact, I love corn, maybe in a slightly-too-sensual way. I’ve played in cornfields, shucked corn, made corn dollies, used cornfields as a shortcut, lost my virginity in a cornfield. It’s no small thing for me to be frightened of scary-ass-ten-foot-corn in the night.
My cousin’s got land in California. She shared this picture of her snow. Right after, “I miss snow,” I thought, “I wish I had some land.”
Too scary. Far too scary to live so far from everything and everyone. Just because I want anonymity doesn’t mean I don’t want to know my anonymous neighbors are there.
Also I didn’t marry a farmer. I think The Mister would welcome the idea of a big truck, a riding mower, and a barn fulla tools, but I’m pretty sure if he can’t train a dog, he’ll be no more naturally disposed toward farm critters.
The problem with the city and the country is not the extreme difference between them. It’s the school systems.
I don’t want my kids to go to a crap school in the city.
I don’t want my kids to go to a too-white, too-Christian school in the sticks.
I cannot afford private school tuition, and even if I could, so many of those schools are too-white and too-Christian. I can not abide this kinda crap:
I couldn’t homeschool them, because I can’t math beyond ninth grade, and that’s only supposing they didn’t drive me into a bottle of lithium first.
SO, I’m tryin to live in the best of both worlds. In a small city that feels like a town, garners a modicum of urban agriculture, hosts big city venues, possesses Big Ten education, affordable mass transit, mandatory recycling, as well as boasting a plethora of parks, all the while surrounded by farmland in a Blue state. Now, if you could just find someone to hire The Mister, so that we can move, so that we can unpack, so I can enroll the kids in school, so that I can find a job, so that we can settle down — well, that’d be swell.