Why I Won’t Be Going Home

As the only member of my family not living in the suburban town near Phoenix where my parents bought a house ten years ago, I often find myself defending city living. Sometimes I’m just trying to convince somebody to move out here, or at least to visit, but other times I’m explaining why Husband and I will most likely never join the rest of them. This week I’ve added a few pros to the constant catalog of Chicago’s good and bad that I’ve got going.

  • It may be easier to get around in the suburbs – just hop in the car, hit the wide-laned highway, and look for the plentiful parking that’s sure to exist wherever you’re headed – but in our neighborhood in Chicago, we’ve got just about everything you could need in easy walking distance of our apartment. Today’s proof: Christmas trees sold in the playground of our neighborhood elementary school. We didn’t need to mess around with bungee cords or ropes or maps to farms in rural Wisconsin. We just walked down the street, picked out a tree, and walked it home, all six feet of it.
  • Keeping with the theme of transportation, I’ve noticed that the difficulty of getting around often strengthens relationships, rather than isolating individuals. Examples: when I travel 30 minutes on the bus and then walk 15 in icy winds to get to a friend’s holiday get-together, chances are I’m going to stick around for a while. Gone are the days of the non-committal “drop-in.” When another couple takes the train halfway across town to come to dinner at our place and we offer to pick them up at the station so they don’t have to walk the extra mile in the cold, they know we really want them there. The effort required to see people not in the neighborhood means I’m less likely to keep mere acquaintances around, but quicker to form strong bonds. The slight hardship unites us. I’ve heard the cold will do this, as well, but as we just had our first snow, I’ll need some time to test that one out.
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