So, Charity and I are reading Al Hsu's The Suburban Christian together. And we thought that besides talking by email we might open up the conversation a little wider. So, here we are. Intro and Chapter 1.
As you can see in the picture above, this is the edge of my back yard. It has a rather urban feel that might be surprising, with all my talk about the pine and the ivy.
Indeed, I learned from TSC that I live in an urban suburb, or maybe an exurb, or possibly an edge city. The point is that I don't live in downtown Manhattan, which everyone agrees is urban (well, except that apparently the cities are now taking on suburban characteristics).
As I tried to sift through the definitions of urban/suburban (poor sociologists and bravo to Al Hsu!), I realized that maybe this is the most important point for me: I experience life here as if it were urban.
There are no picket fences. Horns and sirens and car alarms often pierce my days and nights. People toss beer cans, empty Doritos bags, and (can you believe it?) even old pairs of underwear onto my sidewalk and into my front hedge. I can walk to the post office, the grocery stores, the library, and a few establishments that sell overwear. It hardly feels like a "great place to raise kids."
In general, life here feels pinched, unless I look up, into my pine tree. Or down, into my ivy. Still, I've got the suburban feel that people who trek to the suburbs are apparently after... this is a place where I have no past. Most of my neighbors don't even know my name.
For more thoughts on this, read Trashwalk on my Green Inventions blog.
At the Edge photo, by L.L. Barkat.
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Al Hsu's Discussing Suburbia