“Why did we ever leave?” Lance asked me.
“We were too impulsive,” I said, which is not a word you usually associate with “the suburbs.”
Lance and I met in the city. We dated in the city, got our first pet in the city, moved in together in the city. We started our married life in the city. But things change–bad jobs and experiences sour your relationship with a place.
Philly is not a beautiful city. (When we got back from Tokyo, I realized I’d be embarrassed to invite somebody from such a clean, well-organized metropolis to dingy, dilapidated old bag like Philadelphia.) It’s dirty and huge swaths of it are really, actually falling down. Our “shopping district” consists of, like, three blocks of one street. Philadelphians aren’t New York City rude, they’re angry and mean; the Ben & Jerry’s employees in our Amtrak station wear t-shirts that read “I’m not angry, I’m from Philly.”
So we got disillusioned after awhile. The city and the experiences we had therein just wore us down, so we left. That, and Lance loved his Ruby Tuesdays and his Dunkin Donuts, so the suburbs just made sense.
But man, was it boring.
There are a lot of stories about how the suburbs (or, at least, our particular suburb) didn’t work for us, which I never covered here since Lance and I were, at the time, doing a delicate dance of negotiation and, well, pretending to be happy. While it was quiet, we couldn’t handle the fact that our only options for entertainment were a classic car show or getting drinks at local watering hole Dirty Jerzees, and we had moved so far out of the city that it was a legitimate pain in the butt for us to get to any of our friends’, and vice versa. I was commuting an hour each way, via car and bike and walking and train. We only have one car, which further complicated matters.
Moving to the suburbs was just a half-baked idea, a little knee-jerk. It wasn’t for us.
Philly, you’re not a perfect city. We don’t even like you all that much. But, baby, you’re what we’ve got.