I’ve spent the last four-and-a-half years of my life living in cramped dorm rooms and a fraternity house where the smell of Natty Light and Evan Williams lingered for weeks at a time. Don’t get me wrong, these were the best memories (or lack thereof) of my entire life, but after I limped across the stage with my Gentleman’s 3.1, I was craving something new and a bit more stable.
Most of my buddies from college went on to live in the downtown areas of their respective cities, while maintaining a close distance to their jobs and more importantly, the bars, though they’re often times forking over half their take home pay just to cover rent. As for me, two close friends and I discovered the glorious oasis of white picket fences, easy parking, and friendly middle-aged neighbors that is suburban America. Welcome to the suburbs.
Let’s get right to it, most recent graduates have to really bite the bullet paying rent in major urban areas. I work in the D.C. metro area, and I can tell you that this place is as pricey as they come. Even with roommates, you’re lucky to be paying under a thousand if you’re even remotely close to the city. Out here in the good ole ‘burbs though, it isn’t so bad. Hell, it gives you the opportunity to put that extra coin towards to the Tuesday evening Marg, a Caribbean trip with old college pals, and of course, that bitch Sallie Mae. Even the cost of the essentials seems to drop when you move to the suburbs, and “Two for Twenty” at Applebees will always get you that extra value for your dollar that the Taco Bar downtown just won’t satisfy.
It’s a spacious oasis.
There’s a whole lot of open grass out here in suburban America, and this provides the necessary space for classic all-American activities.
Just recently, my roommates and I had a PETA (People for the Eating of Tasty Animals) barbecue in our shrub-filled yet spacious backyard. We grilled up just about every farm critter on this side of the Mississippi, got some cornhole going, and I tested my cannon arm that hasn’t thrown a decent spiral since the Intramural playoffs sophomore year.
Living in the suburbs makes hosting far more feasible, especially when you factor in not only the sheer space, but parking. Parking in most apartment complexes seems to be more challenging than Excel on a hungover Wednesday morning. Before I moved to my current abode, I actually spent a few months subleasing an apartment closer to the city. Parking here proved to be another obstacle in my already soul-sucking commute, with my assigned space on the seventh (that’s right, seventh) floor of the parking garage. Here in the sunny burbs though, I slide right my 4Runner right into the driveway, wave to the Paula Dean clone across the street, and call it an afternoon.
Love thy neighbor.
Each morning when I walk out the door emotionally preparing myself for the commute and work day ahead, I give the “neighborly wave” to Jerry next door. Every day, this friendly son of a bitch is out reading the paper on his porch with a cup of coffee in one hand and an apparent ray of sunshine in the other. Really though, this guy is a modern day Mr. Rogers. He probably teaches the neighborhood kids how to read and write in between his shifts volunteering at the soup kitchen. He’s a great neighbor, but probably an even better Grandfather and sweater vest connoisseur.
On the other side of the all-American white picket fence is the McDonald family, two surprisingly cool teenagers (an endangered species, I swear) and their dad who is essentially a socially competent Hank Hill. Mrs. McDonald is also a real gem as she even welcomed us to the neighborhood with homemade peach cobbler while creating small talk about the Republican primary contenders.
The reality is, you won’t meet these gifts to society in your overpriced, uptown, 700-square foot studio apartment, but you will meet them when you’re living the ‘burbs.
Preparation for the future.
I get it, a lot of you want to enjoy these youthful years while you still have the chance. For many of us in our twenties, the terrifying concepts of marriage and children are surely on the horizon, although I personally intend on having a cool ass dog named Ranger before experiencing either. There’s some merit to wanting to live the city life for a while, enjoying your dwindling youth and dodging the pile of bureaucratic bullshit that is your typical Homeowner’s Association. But once you fully accept the fact that these baby booming streets are calling you home for the bulk of your adult life, you embrace it in all of its glory and learn to live the life you were made for all along.
Join me, friends. .
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