SUBURBS: the residential area on the outskirts of a city or large town

Son can be a bit of a contrarian at times.  He finds ways large and small to let us know that he has his own opinions.   On the rare occasions when we are watching sports on television, Son changes into the color of the opposing team and roots against us.  Generally, I’m able to observe all of this calmly and recognize that it is important for him to assert his autonomy. 

But, yesterday he went too far.  He said he wants to live in the suburbs. 

My son – the offspring of TWO urban planners.  The one who was lovingly nicknamed “Woonerf Chicane” when all the other parents were using cutesy names like “Peanut” for their unborn children.  

[A nerdy planning vocabulary lesson for those who want it: Woonerf is the Dutch term for a “living street” where the needs of cars are secondary to the needs of pedestrians, playing children, and bicyclists.  Chicanes are a traffic calming technique where lateral displacements are inserted in the vehicle path to force drivers to reduce speed.]

And now, this child who has reaped the benefits of walkability and urban amenities wants to throw it all away so that he can have an automatic garage door opener.

I’m crushed.

I think I understand a bit of how my gun carrying, truck driving, cowboy hat and boots wearing, rare steak eating father felt when I became a vegetarian, bought a pair of Birkenstocks, and declared my Environmental Studies major. 

Sorry, Dad.


4 thoughts on “Suburbs

  1. I don’t think you need to worry too much yet. When I think of all the ways in which I deviated from my parents’ lifestyle and the way in which they brought me up, it makes me cringe. Ironically, since having my own kids, I’ve moved back in that direction, as I’m sure many kids do. We can never escape our roots!

    As for your feelings about the suburbs, I agree. I’ve never lived there, never will… Exactly like you said, it’s a middle ground that would simply cause me to wilt with all that driving and concrete and sprawl. Ugh.

  2. i love that phrase so much.

    what i wish is that NYC would have the balls to instigate congestion pricing to get a mess of cars out of the city. in the meantime, they are doing things that are akin to woonerf chicanes. but there are still too many cars.

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