I admit that when I was growing up in the North Hills of Pittsburgh–North Allegheny School District* to be ridiculously precise– I totally hated suburban life: the necessity of driving EVERYWHERE. The white-blonde moms in yoga pants with their Starbuck’s lattes and their Coach bags, who spent all day driving massive SUVs to the mall, multiple bulk food stores, the mall, soccer practice, and the mall, and were way too involved in their kids’ lives. The girls with their new boobs for their Sweet Sixteen and the boys dressed all fratty in head-to-foot Abercrombie outfits that their white-blonde mom bought for them at the mall. The lack of anything to do besides go to the movies or eat crappy food at TGI Friday’s on Friday.
*Perhaps it would be enough to simply state that this is the SAME SCHOOL Christina Aguilera “attended.” You see what I mean.
I’m really happy to be living in a city now– a nice, medium-sized city with beautiful lakes and lots of little boutique shops and restaurants, and a million things to do on any given day. But every once in while, my deeply suburban upbringing freaks out over all this culture and risk and things not looking THE SAME! It rears its monochromatic beige head and whines like a fashionable, mixed breed dog– a Labradoodle, say, or a Puggle– and I feel the need to drive out past the city limits and into the sprawl of strip malls on the West Side.
Goddess of the Dawn and The Erstwhile Flaneur and I went on one such Suburban Nostalgia bender the other day, because we really needed 4 lb bags of frozen edamame, 769,872,346 granola bars, and million thread count sheets. And there’s only one place to get such things…COSTCO. Let me just tell you…renewing my Costco membership and then walking into that warehouse with a cart so big I couldn’t get it to corner was so satisfying. There’s such comfort in the idea that you can buy 27 bazillion rolls of toilet paper in one go (you know, just in case the moon gets knocked off its orbit by an asteroid and we’re all stranded without TP), or a jar of knockoff Raisinets bigger than your head. That you can get a Greek salad that is EXACTLY THE SAME as the Greek salad you got four months ago in a completely different time zone, or walk up to a girl in a cute sweater, ask her where she got it, and then go there and get one for yourself.
Suburbia and its array of retail establishments make you feel secure because surely with that many chocolate covered raisins, you will never have to worry about the potential horrors of impromptu movie-watching sans Raisinets! ::shudder::.
For a long time, I thought I didn’t have a Suburban Mom Gene, but turns out I totally do. I freaking love Costco. And I love Target with an unreasonable passion. And Panera…I could eat there every goddamn day. No, it’s not as interesting as Laotian food or sushi, and it’s certainly not as challenging as trying to cobble together a week’s worth of groceries from whatever’s in season at Farmers’ Market. And yeah, sometimes I end up wearing the same sweater that everyone else bought from Target. But you know why? It’s because that sweater was AWESOME. And sometimes one size really does fit all. Bring it on, Suburbia!