Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Burbs

I've noticed over the years that there's a lot of talk and blog about how the suburbs are uncool, cookie-cutter and stale, and lame compared to places closer to downtown, uptown, or anywhere non-burb.

We'll give non-burb a codename of inside "The Loop".

Granted, some burbs can be as I described above. But not all burbs are the same, and sometimes cool people do live in burbs and go on to lead normal, even cool and non-stale lives.

I, myself, live in a burb. And I'd like to spend a blog in defense of The Burbs.

First, it's a fantastic movie starring Tom Hanks. But in defense of burbs all the world over, I will say that I am not aware of anyone on my street that is as creepy as the neighbors in the movie or who digs holes in the backyard in the middle of the night.

Second, people who live in burbs don't tend to make fun of what's inside The Loop. Maybe that's because we are more secure and content about where we live.

Third, I love my neighborhood. It's like small town in the middle of big city. I have big, mature trees in my yard, lots of space in the backyard, a sweet old lady next door, wide streets, plenty of kids to yell out to get out of my yard, the awesomest shed ever built, and it's peaceful here. Every house in the neighborhood is different. Nothing cookie-cutter about it.

Plus, I'm in the perfect location to play inside "The Loop", plus have a reasonable drive to work everyday. Work, of course, being one minute from IKEA, which is also very, very important.

The guy at the gas station on the corner recognizes me when I come in every Sunday morning to buy my paper. We chat. And I'm pretty sure he's not stalking me.

I've got wildlife in my yard. Rabbits. Rabbits. More rabbits.

I see the same old lady walking down the street to the corner grocery almost every day on my way to work. She pulls a wagon behind her and she walks with a cane. She wears a coat and a hat even though it's warm outside. Sometimes I see her on her front porch watching cars go by.

Sometimes I see an old man walking his young grandson around the neighborhood on other mornings on my way to work.

I get compliments on my yard when other neighbors walk by while I'm out fussing with some thing or another in the front yard.

The first night I moved into my house, we pulled in with the Uhaul at about 10:30 that night. The movers I arranged never showed up, friends were mysteriously unavailable last minute on a Saturday night. So my dad and I had to get all of my furniture in the truck by ourselves. When we pulled in the driveway, my neighbor was watering her plants next door. She immediately recognized that we were trying to move my stuff in the house that night and she ran down the street and got some neighbors to help us. The whole truck was unloaded in about 45 minutes.

At 10:30 at night. This was my welcome to my neighborhood, and I fell in love with it that night.

When the old man across the street had to be rushed away in an ambulance, neighbors were out watching and offering help.

I've got parks, bike trails, school tennis courts, about 2 minutes in any direction. Ditto for Target and Home Depot.

And Whataburger. They recognize me there, too. I don't know if that's a good thing....

I've got wildflowers, festivals, community events, public library.... all down the street in one direction or the other.

The city gives me free recycle bags.

It's not just a neighborhood, it's a community. My community.

So, say what you will in jest of burbs. But I will defend my burb any day of the week as just as good, if not better, than any place inside The Loop.

Or a Loop near you.



Clare said...

I love old-school suburbia, which is what your 'hood sounds like. You know, suburbs that first sprang up in the '40s and '50s, and they have sidewalks and trees and charming houses and some mom-and-pop restaurants mixed in with the obligatory chains. That's the kind of neighborhood I live in now, too, and I much prefer it to urban locations I've lived in in the past. I think when most people think "suburbs," they automatically think of the generic, cookie-cutter, poorly thought out suburban sprawl you mentioned. And honestly, those places kind of make my heart hurt, too. But I can totally get behind the old-school 'burbs.

Craig said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only person who is regognized by all the Whataburger employees.

Big-Daddy said...

I obviously love the "burbs" also as I live in the same burb. Best part it is only 5 minutes from the Tyrant!

Love ya,


i am cam said...

I don't do burbs. Or borough. Even though some boroughs such as Brooklyn are actually too big to be considered a borough. Or burb.

I'm a City girl. For me, all of Texas is outside the Loop.