I find it fascinating that I think so much about suburban life. Afterall, I was raised in suburbia. But let me tell you it's a whole different ballgame when you're living in suburbia by choice - and still looking at it from the outside in.
On the weekend my friend came over to visit. She's my friend, Ginny, from the condo. It sort of sucks that we can't just call each other and run down the hall, but the fact that her mom lives close and she can stop by to visit is pretty cool.
The fact that she came bearing Starbucks - even better! (you know how some friends you're like "no no no, it's okay I'll make coffee just come visit" and other friends they call you and it's like "are you still doing non-fat lattes"? Gin is the latter. But, I did have treats).
Anyway, so despite the frigid arctic that was Saturday, Ginny got out of her car and went into the drive-thru Starbucks to place her order. Why? Cause she wanted a whole lot of vanilla sprinkles. So, while she was in there getting her sprinkles someone came up to her and made a funny comment about how she was so bundled up. I forget the phrase. The point is that he interrupted her Starbucks bubble to comment on the weather.
We were laughing about it at the time. But, as I thought about it later I realized that this, my friends, is suburbia.
Trust me, we've seen many the crazy on a Starbucks outing, but in Toronto (or most urban centres) they keep to themselves. Seriously.
Here in the suburbs people talk more. Like, the other day I took a taxi home. And I admit I'm pretty chatty, but somehow in the 4 minutes it took me to get home we had established I was new in town. And then I paid the fare, and the driver spent another 5 minutes telling me about the cool local events, the local shopping and the movie theatre. weird.
Or, like the other day Matt and I were at Shoppers. Matt had his soother in his mouth. And, this other toddler pointed it out. I got all defensive "he's tired and cranky" and the mom was like "oh, noooo ... My son uses one too. Whatever gets you through the day."
We proceeded to go through all of Shoppers on a hunt for the Tide that was on sale (and found it.)
I'd say this is weird. But it happens all the time.
People at the gym stop and talk to me - telling me when the gym is quiet, offering to show me where the yoga mats are, etc. I worked out at 3 different gyms in Toronto. Chatty strangers were an exception. Not the rule.
And I'm loving it.
I can't help it. The more people talk to me me the more I get all chatty back. Sometimes it's just plain funny.
My opinion on this - part of it is all the available free parking. Seriously. Think about it. Why not linger at the drug store when you're not worried about how much time is on the metre. Who cares if you spend an extra couple of minutes at the hair salon if you're not worried about whether or not you are parked illegally. It's fantastic.
Not to mention, where there isn't an abundance of parking there's a drive thru. Within 5 minutes of my house there's a drive thru Starbucks, McDonald's, Wendy's, Tim Hortons (about 4) and I can't remember what else. The point is - here in suburbia we're not worried about our cars which leaves us time to talk.
What else could it be???
Or it could be something else. Truthfully I sucked at sociology. I bet some sociologist would have an idea, but as far as I'm concerned it's all about the mobility.
Oh - and thanks for the coffee Ginny. Next time I'm buying (extra vanilla sprinkles, and I'll remember which one is yours!!!)
And,just an update. Today my teenage neighbour came to my door. I realized I'd been gone way too long when I insisted on shouting out my door "who are you?" while a shivering 16-year-old was telling me they were turning the water off. Oops.
So, then when I figured that my poor neighbour was hanging out in the cold I let him in and let him turn on my water. I know ... city dweller!!!