Eek! 25 days until I move, guys! I’m so excited. Wait, no, maybe I’m scared. After all, the Crystal ball predicts I’ll get invited to sex parties and witness milfs hooking up with the ice cream guy because apparently the suburbs are a just like those episodes of Desperate Housewives I never watched. Is it? How would I know. Until I moved to Andersonville, I thought anything north of Addison was the suburbs. I figured the second you passed Wrigley field you shot down a laundry chute and woke up in a Wal-mart parking lot. I was wrong about that, by the way. I can attest, there are just as many gay bars and loud noises on Brwn Mawr as anywhere else in Chicago. But the real suburbs? Can they really be interesting? A single, urban writer friend of mine was downright gleeful when she told me she heard married suburban sex was the dirtiest kind. Pearls, clutched. I’ll find out and report back what I learn.
Why does everyone keep trying to scare me? I’ve had half a dozen people look me up and down and say something to the effect, “you do realize what the north shore is like, right?” (Me: I grew up on the border of Kentucky and lived in the Chi ten years. So. No.) Two people have asked me if my new haircut is in preparation for being a north shore woman. YES. My Stepfordization process has begun. Wait till you see the gears I had installed in my brain during my lobotomy. Note to self: start wearing twin sets.
I’m actually not that scared of suburban culture shock. Supposedly north shore women are uppity or something and might frown upon my bumping Power 92 in my swagger wagon, but those cats can kiss it because I already saw one of my neighbors naked. Yes I did. It was during the first showing of the new house and since we share a backyard, naturally I looked over and got an eyefull of a fully nekked blonde lady in a bay window. So who the hell is she to say anything to me about my twangy accent and Target clothes? At least I wear them! Boom.
I imagine there will be a kerfuffle or two as I settle into my new role as suburban mom lady, but the hardest part will be leaving the community I’ve worked hard to build. I handed over the books for my non-profit I’ve been the Treasurer of for several years. After my water broke when I was in labor a few years ago, I actually stopped at the bank on the way to the hospital to handle a deposit. That’s dedication. I’ll miss them. I also had to hand over the reigns of the play group I’ve been teaching two mornings a week for almost three years. But these are good people taking over and they’ll work just as hard as I did.
What worries me about moving on up isn’t the not-fitting-in or lack of twinkling lights, but my newfound uselessness. This might sound cheesy, but I really feel called to serve my community. Here in A-ville there are community needs. Holes to fill. Mouths that need food. Non-profits groups that need elbow grease. Kids who need school supplies and playgroups that need leaders. When I give or do in my city neighborhood, I make a difference. Not like I’m some kind of Mother Theresa; Anything I give or do is nothing compared to what is needed. But still. Who needs anything at all in the land of lawnmowers and SUVs?
I just hope I can find a niche for myself to do a something that matters. The guilt of leaving where it does matter is eating at me. Or maybe I’m kidding myself – maybe no one will even notice I’m gone! I know who will miss me: the people who write parking tickets. I think Chicago could pave Lake Shore Drive in my honor with the proceeds from what I’ve paid in parking tickets just in front of my own damn house.
In the end, I don’t know if I’m making the right decision. I’m going to a place where the public schools are top notch and public school is important to me. We’re going to a place where we have a sprawling yard, and having a safe place for my kids to breathe fresh air is important to me. But the affluence, and lack of diversity and opportunity to serve is kind of a thorn in my patoot.
Stay tuned to see if I develop helmet hair and start raising my kids to be brats. Adios, Chicago!