Monday, January 28, 2008

Sterile Suburbia




My family came for dinner tonight.
They drove up to this suburban haven of large houses, double garages, and vast swathes of lawns from the city.
They remarked on the silence - quiet wealth makes no sound.
The trees are carefully landscaped and calibrated to enhance the neighbourhood. White birch, low slung colourful shrubbery and precise flowerbeds carved out of eye-hurting emerald green lawns.
There are no sidewalks.
Every house has got security and has picturesque ye olde outdoor lighting.
The front windows are all in darkness.
There is never any life on this street.
I assume any life takes place in the back of the house.
SUVs (and they are nearly all SUVS) are shunted quietly into the double garages and the doors slide remotely shut.
I imagine the installation of an outdoor clothesline would be a valid enough reason to execute the perpetrator.
I am a brand new inhabitee of this lofty citadel (nearly a month now) and no neighbour has come to call. One cannot meet them on the street as they are never outside. They slide into their SUVs from inside their garages and glide away to shop, to dine, to attend theatre one surmises.
There is no local shop to walk to even if there was a sidewalk. The nearest park is over a mile away. There is nothing to look at apart from across the street at another house similar in grandeur to one's own.
We discussed the sadness of it all, my family and I. And felt grateful none of us had ever consciously chosen to live in such expensive, soulless isolation.

10 comments:

  1. Our street's a bit suburban but not as bad as that. Yes, people go everywhere by car so you don't meet them often on the street but when you do they're friendly enough. And there's always plenty of unorthodox things going on like the builder with his yard full of builder's stuff. And there are some great local shops a few minutes walk away. I couldn't imagine living in that sort of posh, sterile street for very long. I'd run for my life, screaming!

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  2. That is totally scarey! I live in a small development (20 bungalows) we have some 'odd' neighbours but most of them will at least pass the time of day if they see you outside or down the town.

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  3. I'm sure Pete Seeger saw such things in exactly the same way.

    Remember "Little Boxes"?

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  4. Nick:
    There are a few positives:
    There is an end in sight (around May 1)
    I have no bills, the owners pay everything.
    And you should see the theatre room!!! (Grand for this movie buff!)
    XO
    WWW

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  5. GM:
    That's usually the case. I've never lived in anything like this. It is like another planet and what troubles me is that there are so many places like this!
    XO
    WWW

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  6. Richard:
    Funny you should mention, I was playing the song the other day in the car and laughed my head off. So true.
    XO
    WWW

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  7. this is why i live in the city. i can't afford to live in the country, and between city and suburbs, city seems much more real, if noisier.

    we have sidewalks that will take you as far as you can walk, neighbors who you see (and hear) more than you would like, few SUVs (even though this is the frozen north, where they are actually practical) because nobody can afford them.

    i'd rather live in a small town, but since my job is in the city, so am i.

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  8. WWW, this reminds me a bit of my old house. Now that I live in the city centre, suburbia seems miles away.

    Like Laurie, I enjoy the noise and bustle and life of the city. I like that I can walk out at any time and see people.

    I wouldn't choose to live like that again.

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  9. Laurie:
    I so much prefer the city or my house by the ocean in a little village. I always had that sense of community in the city, porches were used and not just decor.
    Suburbia is a no-man's land. It feels surreal here.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. H:
    Yes, the city is so energizing, I enjoy the hustle and bustle (not to mention the foreign movies showing!!)And even looking at what people are reading on the subway (tube), etc.
    XO
    WWW

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