Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No Love for the 'burbs


I have a love/hate relationship with suburbia. Okay no love, more like hate/reluctant appreciation now that I have kids. It is, after all, a nice place for kids to grow up (umm.. if any knows of a time machine I can use to go back and alter the exact moment I became my mother, please let me know). There has always been a nagging sensation since I was a kid (growing up in the ‘burbs in a nice 1950’s split level) that there was something ‘off’ about living in the suburbs. I know I’m sounding like a whiner when suburbia has the history of being the “American Dream” for many. Having lived in a dark, mice infested apartment in a big city, I also dreamed of a time when we could have our own little plot of yard and share walls with no one. So why, now that I’m here (again), do I feel the need for escape?

After watching the documentary, “The End of Suburbia” it rained down epiphanies. Suburbia is an artificial, finite idea. Suburbia exists because of abundant cheap oil. We drive EVERYWHERE here. The documentary convincingly projects that without affordable oil, suburbia will become a ghetto. And I’m stuck here. I don’t want to go back to my mice infested apartment, and I don’t have the cash or muscles to buy a farm and ‘work’ the land. So what’s a middle aged suburban mom supposed to do? It all comes down to one buzz word -CONSERVE. I am guilty of the biggest personal environmental crime – driving aimlessly around. It is part of my need for escape. It’s important for me psychologically to be able to drive 20 minutes north of my house and end up in a place when I can theoretically be mauled by a cougar. Then I know I’ve escaped and I do it often. But if I want to protect my cougar friends, I need to park the car more often and find a way to enjoy my immediate surroundings. Ugh, tough indeed. My world just got smaller, I’ll see how it goes…

2 comments:

andrea said...

I could have written this post! (Which 'burb are you in?:) I have a secret addiction: the HGTV show Relocation Relocation where the people looking for a new life get both: the crash pad in the vibrant city and the idyllic rural retreat -- and no suburban ghetto! I want to be them! I have turned the alternatives over in my head a million times but the cost, in either time or money, of anything other than the suburbs is just too great. So I take my dog down the hill into Burns Bog and feel a little better...
(Is that a self protrait -- it's really good!)

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