Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Suburban Mouse and the Downtown Girl

Once upon a time lived a suburban woman. She was raised in the suburbs. She owned houses in the suburbs. She mowed grass and planted gardens. In the suburbs, she shoveled a lot of snow, drove everywhere, rarely walked except in a specific effort for exercise, and spent hours upon hours of her life in cars.

And when she moved to the Chicago area, it was to an apartment in the suburbs. Then one day, the woman and her sweetie were sharing a lo-o-o-ong commute from the suburbs into the city...yet another 1.5 hour one-way commute. It just became too much.

The woman and her sweetie found a place three doors – that's right: three! – from her office. His new commute: 3.9 miles. Her new commute: two blocks. And life was good once again.

The couple had grown up in Detroit – original home of the American automobile – so it was with trepidation that they sold their two cars and bought one hybrid. Now, they fill the gas tank every three weeks or so instead of twice a week. The money they spend on tolls went down by about 75%. 
Even the cat loves highrise living.

And they began to walk - to the grocery store, the park, the drug store, the bank, the post office, the department store. To breakfast, lunch and dinner, if they are so inclined. The sweetie lost eight pounds in the first three months, without changing anything but the amount of walking he does. (Not so the woman, but life can be cruel.)

In particular, they love the amenities of a downtown highrise - the rooftop pool and fitness center, the door staff, parking attendant, onsite dry cleaner, package service - even the taxi call light. These did not exist in their suburban lives.

And oh, the parks, festivals and concerts! The accessibility of the lakefront! The museums and cultural center! The lights! The sounds!

Her family – who by this time had moved from the suburbs to a rural area, thought she had lost her ever-loving mind. The city! Why on God's green acre would anyone want to live surrounded by...cars, trucks, buses, building, concrete...and other people?

From her vantage point overlooking a luscious green park surrounded by attractive highrises, the woman smiles. Maybe she has lost her ever-loving mind. And maybe she sounds like an advert for city living, but that’s okay. Who knew a suburban girl could grow up to be a happy high-rise dweller? Definitely not the end.