I Love the Suburbs

Since about 1996, I have lived “in the city.” But now my family lives in a city of suburbs, connected by various parkways to zip along to different suburban housing developments. We live in one such housing development (picture lots of cul-de-sacs and curving roads and no sidewalks).

Why I love it:

(1) No one bothers you. Our house has a house on either side and one that adjoins our back yard. And there are two houses essentially across the street. Of the 5 families living in these houses — our “neighbors” — only 2 have introduced themselves to us. Of course, we’ve only lived there just over four months. I’m afraid that in time the others may talk to us and disturb our peace and tranquility. If I wanted neighbors to talk to me, I wouldn’t have moved to the suburbs. That’s what apartments in the city are for, right?

(2) Everyone has at least one vehicle the size of a Chevy Suburban. And because they only have 1 or 2 kids, this means that there is plenty of room for them to load up their land barges with neighborhood kids and take them to do kid activities. Well, at least in theory. Not that anyone does this. (See #1 above.) But if they wanted to, the could!

(3) You can play fun games with people in the neighborhood like “Scare the Walkers.” I will be working in my front yard and see someone out getting their daily exercise walking by. They pretend not to see me (see #1 above) and I’ll pretend not to see them either, and then I’ll startle them by turning in their direction and saying, “Hi!” You should see the total confusion come over them! They are just at a total loss as to how to react. I love that.

If this sounds like an ideal situation to you, you should move to the suburbs, too. It’s great.

Kids are Funny, Part Deux

More conversations in the household —

10 Year Old Son: There are too many girls in my Sunday school class.

Father: How can that be? That’s like saying there are too many flowers.

5 Year Old Son: Boys and girls are enemies.

Father: What?!

5 Year Old Son: Like England and France.

I don’t know who writes these kids’ material, but some of it is pretty dang funny. Of course, beneath the humor lurks an ugly reality: from an early age boys and girls are taught to think of each other as different and hostile genders. I am always amazed to find — as I did in my son’s kindergarten class this year — separate sign-in sheets for boys and girls. Is this necessary? Or lining up for lunch in two different lines: one for boys one for girls. I can see having kids line up by gender if they are waiting to use the bathroom, but for lunch? These practices go on totally unquestioned in the schools.

And those are the more mild forms of gender differentiation. See Barrie Thorne’s book, Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School.

Kids are funny

From the household this morning —

Dad: Oh, Son, I just dropped my sock. Can you hand it to me?

Son (5 years old): Parents hurt themselves when they bend over.

Dad: Why is that?

Son: Because they’re old and they hurt their backs.

— in this case, the truth really does hurt.