Do Not Go Quietly

If we could afford a condo in the nice area downtown, I think that would be my first choice. If Paul could telecommute my second choice would be a ranch outside of town. Since neither of those are viable options the suburbs are our only choice and this house hunt has really hammered it home to me that I am destined for suburban life. I had a freakout this weekend on the subject.

I will not go quietly into that suburban light. I will rage, rage against the dying of the night.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s urban sprawl. It makes my heart hurt and my mind scream when I fly over a megalopolis that consumes the land. As we drive around with our realtor I say, “Oh I like this, it’s across from a wheat field!” and she reminds me that in ten years it’ll be more construction. It’s wrong. If I buy a house in the outer suburbs I am contributing to the problem and going against all my ethics on the subject, and I have many.

I will not go quietly into that suburban light. I will rage, rage against the dying of the night.

If there’s one thing I hate even more than urban sprawl, it’s mindless consumerism. I do not see shopping as either a hobby or a leisure activity. I don’t see proximity to a mall to be a selling point. I don’t want to be surrounded by the same generic cookie-cutter chains that I can find in any other city in north America. I don’t want my children to grow up being fed a soul-sucking diet of entitlement. I don’t want to live in a competition of who can appear the most wealthy.

I will not go quietly into that suburban light. I will rage, rage against the dying of the night.

I don’t want to buy my house because of what the next owner will want, I’m not shopping for her I’m shopping for me. Besides, I can’t predict the future. Chances are good that wherever we buy won’t be so desirable in thirty years anyway, as the New-Seekers will have moved even further out of the city and whatever is nice now will be sad and forgotten, relegated to the lower tiers of society from whom the middle class is constantly fleeing. If I buy in the suburbs am I one of them? Am I contributing to the problem? Am I a New-Seeker or am I taking advantage of recent developments in efficiency? I can hardly consider myself to be progressive in thought if I shun the evolution of ideas.

I will not go quietly into that suburban light. I will rage, rage against the dying of the night.

I will, however, still do the best I can to find a neighbourhood where my children can thrive, my husband won’t spend too much time and money on the commute, and I won’t feel suffocated in sameness. If the yard is big enough I can grow some of our food. I can teach piano in the study. If we’re close to the freeway we’re not too far from the museums. The suburbs will not break my spirit, nor will they force me to conform. I can still choose to spend my money on experiences rather than things and I am not afraid of being different. My children can find friends like the ones we left behind: supportive, creative, and being raised by model examples of sanity in our modern world.

I told my Dad on Saturday night how I was feeling. He immediately knew what I was saying and suggested I look up Pete Seeger’s Little Boxes. Yep. My Dad totally gets me. And how did I not hear that song before?

18 thoughts on “Do Not Go Quietly

  1. I’ve never put anything more than price into the consideration for a house, so I don’t really know what you mean, but I like the song Little Boxes. 🙂

  2. REBEL!!! REBEL AGAINST THE INSANITY OF IT ALL!! with lattes overlooking the expanse land where individuality will soon be as sparse as integrity and honesty. 😛

  3. I want to commiserate. Of course I do. But the only thing I can come up with is to imagine what it would be like if I were forced for some reason to move to Scarborough. Well, that’s not going to happen. All I can say is, look for the good things. Find a neighbourhood with good parks and schools and amenities for the boys. Because they will adapt readily to their new surroundings (whether you like it or not) so do the best you can for them.

    1. That’s what we’re hoping to do. I think much of my angst comes from how overwhelmed I am at trying to make this big decision in an unknown area. There are just SO MANY suburbs! I’m feeling better about things after that cathartic writing, and I know we’ll be able to find community.

  4. Oh I know how you are feeling, and nobody wants to get lost in the urban sprawl!! It’s hard to find your individualism out there amongst the cookie cutter houses, but believe me, once the doors are closed you will find within those walls a very unique and wonderful person with so much goodness to share! Good luck with the house hunting Zan Mama

    1. You’re right, but maybe I should move to Hilo. I need someone to teach me how to surf. (Truth be told, if we lived on the Big Island I think I’d want to live in the jungles of Volcano, but that’s still close enough to you for visits and lessons!)

  5. that song cracks me up! of course my nieces from Alaska know it because my sister-in-law grew up with it. Maybe it’s an Alaska Canada thing.

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