Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why I hate the suburbs

It’s a "discussion" that I have had with a number of people (including one person who I knows reads this).
I hate the suburbs.... hate, hate, hate.....

I am a city boy (and yes, the parts of Arlington County that I live and work in, along the Orange line up to Ballston, is definitely city (based on walk-ability, buildings and density)). I spent 3 miserable years out in Fredericksburg where I had to drive everywhere (even to exercise... it wasn't safe to run or walk around my townhouse), didn't know my neighbors and felt cut-off from society. I came to despise I-95 (which can get clogged with traffic on the weekends). I still do in fact, even though my runs down that road are limited to once a month for Army stuff. (I just don't see how people can deal with this every day)

So now every time people talk about commutes (vs. my 20 minute stroll to work) I have bite my tongue (as I so want to blurt out that no house is worth that commute (people are spending 1.5-2 hours, on a good day, driving so that they can have their McMansions out in the suburbs/exaburbs)). They will always harp about how their kids have a yard (highly overrated if there are good parks available), good schools (hmm..... who has some of the highest rated schools (all 4 of them in the top 50-100, one in the top 10... for the country) in the region.. oh yeah, Arlington), and that they don't have to see their neighbor(and people wonder why society seems to be breaking down in the US.. People just want to relax after their awful commutes. They don’t want to get back out in a car and attend a meeting.. or even go to a bar (given how hard we are cracking down on people driving after even having one drink)).

Since I so love bullet lists:

  • It's dehumanizing. People spend hours of time in their car. Not just commuting but also in running any daily tasks (since people in the suburbs don't walk or take public transportation.
  • It's bad for the environment (yep, I am making this statement... the irony is dripping). It’s a very unsustainable lifestyle (which we are starting to feel no in the era of $100 per barrel oil) and the costs are going to keep going up. It’s not an efficient system and we are going to be paying the price for it for a long time.
  • And quite honestly its bad for America (how much oil do we have to import to heat/cool those monster houses (with the shrinking American family why in gods name do we need more space?), to fuel those cars on their long commutes as they idle in traffic...). We are basically pumping money (going to such "friends" as the Saudi Arabians...) and forever tying ourselves to the Middle East (and the inherent troubles of that region). That and the general fraying of the edges of the social fabric of America that this assists (via the decreasing social involvement in this country).

But whatever. As my Mom would say, it takes all kinds (and thank god for that.... how horrible it would be if we all wanted the same thing). Those people can have the 'burbs, since in my mind it’s for the birds..... They can tire themselves out there cursing traffic while I enjoy my urban environment where I can stroll over to the local restaurant, take a walk around with family and friends, hit a bar and then safely stroll home. Maybe they will be most of the way home by the time I am done....
*/end rant mode*/

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I'm right there with you. I love living in a city. I love that my commute may involve the Metro and a book and it always involves a walk. I love knowing my neighbors and running into friends at the movie theater and on the Metro, at stores and on walks. That's just me, though.