Monday, June 07, 2010

Bougie McBougerson

I'm now closing in on almost a year in the "new" house, and I find that the 10 months here have brought into stark relief the difference that location can make. There's a phalanx of people here that are hard-core proponents of the ethical obligation we have to live in the city. And they're not wrong. After all, by leaving for the 'burbs, Mr. Fluff and I have taken our money out of the tax base and the school tax base; we've abandoned the mixed (as in, both rental and owner-occupied) neighborhood; we drive slightly further to work (and can no longer walk). In essence, there's a good deal of clucking and nose-looking-down-upon that we've undergone over the past year. And I have to admit, there's a sense in which I've mapped myself onto the way of life out here that is a bit disgusting. Case in point---here's what my day has and will look like:
•make smoothie with fresh fruit and omega-3s
•peruse books for fall classes
•get some exercise---either a bike ride or a trip to the gym
•make lunch with remaining produce from CSA
•meet friend to discuss fall lecture series
•paint (not so)newly-remodeled bathroom
•make dinner with remaining produce from CSA
•watch something on TV that I'm streaming from Netflix (because I refuse to deal with the cable company)

It's a little too much, isn't it? I feel like I should be sipping tea with my pinkie finger raised. Now if only I w•as driving my hybrid SUV to and from the Farmer's Market or the PTA meeting today, I'd be fully a part of the neighborhood. Stepford Wife, anyone?

But if we look at it in another way, here's what I would be doing if we had stayed in our old house:
•go into disgusting basement to open windows for cats
•make breakfast (sure, it could be a smoothie---no real difference here)
•make arrangements to address one of any number of urgent projects that will prevent the house from falling down: new roof, flooding in the back yard, crumbling masonry, etc.
•get some exercise, but feel guilty for not doing something about the front and/or back yard, both of which threaten to overtake the house
•dream about buying a bike, but realize that it would probably be stolen, as that's the number one crime in neighborhood
•make dinner
•watch something on cable
•go to bed, only to be awakened at 2 by our neighbors' furious, drunken game of backyard beer pong.

There's just no question about which of these ways of life is better for my blood pressure and peace of mind. And if anything, this is the life of the professors that I had (minus the wine-tasting and rose-growing that seemed endemic to my undergrad profs). But it's undeniable that there's a certain amount of privilege at work here. In part, it's class-related: we could never have bought this house without having improved and sold the first one, and my parents' assistance was key to that. In part, it's the privilege of partner-dom: being able to afford living in the 'burbs is possible only because we have two incomes; being socially comfortable living in a neighborhood of families and retirees is the advantage of heteronormativity. And the fact that I've had 4 months to enjoy hanging out in this house most days is professional: the job I have has given me a significant amount of unstructured time.

So, I'm a girl of the suburbs, without a doubt---it's taken me no time at all to settle into this life, even as I recognize all of the advantages that it takes to live here. And I understand that I'm contributing to a problem with urban life by eschewing it. But there's no question that I'm happier and more calmer here. Perhaps if I just wear my "McBougerson" name tag when I'm out running errands, there will be less clucking from the hard-core city folk?



Blogger Sisyphus said...

A year! And you never posted any lovely decoration pics!!! Sniff.

Some people gotta get their bougieness vicariously, ya know.

Monday, June 07, 2010 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Dr. S---for you, anything. Pics of bathroom coming up (even in it's slightly unfinished state).

Monday, June 07, 2010 12:22:00 PM  

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