Suburbs and the City: a Snippy Dialogue


Sub: What do you like most about the city: the smog, or the hordes of losers asking you for change when you go to your wannabe Bohemian friend’s “really chill” apartment to smoke overpriced hookah?

Urb: Good question. Probably the smog, which reminds me that there’s actually a living, breathing civilization within five miles. I’d take that somewhat distasteful byproduct of productive activity over the clean, clear reminder of just how vapid your existence is.

Sub: Vapid? I’d like to think that the healthy, happy people that live in my town, whose kids actually have a park to play in, would disagree.

Urb: That’s the problem with you guys. You’d “like to think” a lot of things. You operate in this twisted enclave, this shallow pool of primness, where trim housewives roam the shopping mall and play bridge with one another because they can’t quite figure out what to do with their lives after their kids get on the school bus every morning. So yeah, you have a park and a YMCA. Get over it.

Sub: Ooooohhh, right - we’re the ones who have lost touch with reality. This isn’t the ’50’s, man. The people who you so despise, your invented robots of conformity, my neighbors… they moved out of the city when its unnatural density and faux diversity became too much to handle, when they grew out of the hypersaturated commercial melee you call a downtown. They made it. They got out.

Urb: Wait a second… “faux diversity”? Did you go to school with a single black kid, for God’s sake? Have you seen a Hispanic person with a shirt on? You’re not going to honestly purport that your town’s relatively high concentration of Asians amounts to more diversity - of thought, class, lifestyle - than a real metropolis’s?

Sub: I never made that claim. I’d just like to point out that your pillars of diversity, your little Italy, Chinatown, Harlem, etc., amount to little more than an eclectic set of restaurants. When’s the last time you hung out with a Hispanic family, or Hasidic Jews, or God forbid a poor person? Just because you see a panoply of cultures on your way to Urban Outfitters doesn’t mean you know the first thing about them. People aggregate, man - that’s what those ghettos, the places you’d rather not find yourself in past midnight, are all about; don’t go thinking you’re a part of them just because you live in the same zip code.

Urb: At least that so-called illusion of diversity is better than a complete rejection of it. Chew on that next time your town’s parent-teacher association starts complaining that blacks are hurting their kids’ chances of getting into the Ivy League, or the country club maintains its “class” through a racist screening process. It’s OK, bro… you’re sheltered. It’s not too late to get some exposure.

Sub: Don’t patronize me. I know you think it’s cool to live in the midst of this “grungy, yet somehow rich” tapestry of people, places, and things. That’s what keeps it interesting, right? News flash: out here in the ‘burbs we got over that novelty as soon as we figured out what a pain in the ass it all is. I don’t need some collection of rude assholes breathing down my neck to satisfy childish insecurities about how “hip” or “exciting” my life is. I’m content with a safe place for my kids to grow up.

Urb: Jesus… everything’s so sterile with you. The only rats you have in your town are the pathetic preteen skaters who loiter around train stations and parking lots as some kind of pathetic statement against the Man, which is precisely what they’re gonna become anyway…

[to be continued?]




Beth Mar 6th, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Blog entry extolling the joys of city living:


[…] Speaking Of… April 29, 2007 Filed under: Uncategorized — carnavalet @ 2:56 am Here’s a “snippy dialogue” between the suburbs and the city. […]