For the past seven years, I have been an urban girl. From a series of apartments in Wicker Park and Bucktown, I mastered all modes of transportation on the CTA, sampled restaurants with cuisine both familiar and foreign, explored nooks and crannies of a city that never seems to stop evolving, and even stuck around long enough to legitimately lament about “the way things used to be” in my neighborhood. I balked at coworkers who opted to live in the suburbs instead of the city, accusing them of remaining dependent on their parents and being unwilling to stray from the safety of their suburban bubble. (Because when you’re tough like me, you can really rough it in Bucktown. One time, the Starbucks lost power, and I had to cross the six-way intersection to get Caribou Coffee instead.) But for the last month, I haven’t lived within the 773 area code. Currently, I’m squatting at my parents’ house in the suburbs, and it’s freaking sweet.
Firstly, I sleep way better out here. It literally gets darker at night and I’m not awakened every 45 minutes with sirens blasting outside my window. The one time I did see sirens on my parents’ street, it was a complete novelty and it seriously drew people outside from their homes to see what all the fuss was about. In case you’re curious, there was no fuss to be had. I think the cop just wanted to blow a stop sign and so turned on his sirens or something.
Also, I can go to the grocery store without feeling like I’m preparing for battle. You can run in and out in under 3 minutes, and you’ll even be told to “have a nice day” without a hint of sarcasm. Though fans of the Roscoe Village Mariano’s might not believe me, the suburbs even have the same produce and specialty brands for less money! Imagine that. Not to mention, I hardly have to go grocery shopping anymore because my parents have a magical refrigerator that just keeps spawning more food. I’m a little annoyed at how it keeps replenishing the pineapple yogurt and not the Brie cheese and taco dip that my personal fridge is usually stocked with, but who am I to complain about magic.
The downside to living with my parents? (I mean, beyond the obvious fact that I’m 29 and living with my folks. Don’t worry, it’s temporary, and my mom is ridiculously excited that I’m here for these six weeks. Really, this whole arrangement is to make her happy because I’m such a great daughter.) The real downside is how every outing takes so much more planning and time. I haven’t been able to explore and visit public spaces as much as I want, and I’m quickly becoming reminded how isolating suburban living can be. Which is funny, because it’s not like I was all that social in Chicago—I guess it was just nice knowing that you could strike up a conversation with that stranger at the bus stop, though any time somebody tried to do that to me I instantly wrote them off as a psycho. I was usually right.
So yes, I miss the convenience of the city, and I miss my friends who all live there, but they don’t have a magical refrigerator. Advantage: suburbs.
Now you tell me: which place do you prefer?
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