Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rules of the Suburbs

Moving to the suburbs is among the compromises new parents make when the crib/storage bench no longer fits in the bedroom/playroom because they were gifted an unwieldy toy that their kid saw/loved before they had a chance to hide it in the closet/pantry and return it later.

Having just gotten used to sleep deprivation and come to terms with newborn hair loss, a new adjustment must take place.  This list serves as an impractical tool for navigating the suburban initiation.

1.  Plan ahead. For literally everything.  Owning a car (and you must own at least one) should make last minute plans easier, but nothing gets done in the suburbs without prior notice.  Everyone is over scheduled and super busy and you would think you're dealing with CEOs and heads of state rather than the Joneses.

I have an hour available 2 Sundays from today.  Lets catch up over string cheese.
Takeaway: Don't try to make plans with one of your new neighbors for this weekend.  Their rejection will compel you to explain why/how you are possibly free this weekend, and I don't need to tell you this is an uncomfortable and unnecessary thing to do.  Want a summer playdate? Send out your requests with your winter holiday greetings.  (Want a carpool? And you just moved in? lol).

2.  Learn the unspoken rules of the railroad.  They make no sense, so save this part of my list for your first few weeks.

To sit in an empty 2-seater section, scoot down to the window; someone else will definitely need a seat during rush hour so don't make them ask you to move.

Not rush hour.

Same for a 3-seater *unless* someone is already at the window. If so, sit in the aisle seat, leaving an empty spot in the middle.  I don't know why.  I suppose the (non existent) awkwardness of sitting directly next to someone is greater than the obnoxiousness of forcing someone to ask for a seat.  And when they do ask, DO NOT move to the middle seat to give the third person the aisle. Rookie move. You're admitting to being a weirdo who didn't want to sit near the window guy but will now do so anyway. Instead, get out of your seat (as everyone else is shuffling in and the aisle barely accommodates one physically fit person at a time), let Third in, and sit back in your aisle seat, proudly making thigh-to-thigh contact with only one stranger.

3.  Keep up with neighborhood real estate.  I still can't manage to (care to) do this, and my social life has suffered as a result.  Know the houses that are for sale, the houses that recently sold, and the houses that will be on the market soon because the Joneses are divorcing or upgrading or died of suburban boredom.  Be ready to opine on prices, house styles, and your next renovation.  Name drop the guy you will use for this upcoming project, without actually using his name. Just "our patio guy."  The days of supers and building handymen are behind you; soon, when someone asks for a painter recommendation, you'll have a fastest guy, cheapest guy, and highest quality guy. Don't call them that to their faces.

4.  Plan ahead. Oh I get it now.  You live an eternity away from anywhere you'd want to go, you have at least one child (if you don't have more, people will ask you why not, because we don't erect white picket fences around our private lives, only our backyards), and you drive a mini-apartment that screams "I never have to parallel park."  The mental preparation, alone, takes up to a week.

5.  Be prepared to see everyone everywhere.  Chances of anonymity are slim, and bumping into someone you know is no longer an unexpected treat.  It's something you account for in budgeting time.

Hoping not to see anyone, because laundry day and a bad hair day happened to land on grocery shopping day (which is now a thing)?  Good luck with that.  You'll probably recognize people just getting into your car.

And yes you will have to drive there.

But, if you picked the right place, the sense of community and neighborhood bond helps make the absurdly long trip to pick up milk worthwhile.  (It's just milk. How is there nothing closer).


Natasha said...

Thank you for documenting this insanity! I am not alone!!!

SayShenanigans said...

Welcome to our side, Natasha ;)