Junior AP English
December 12, 2014
The Myth of Suburbia
Over my life, I have observed many foreign lands, lands with different cultures and different languages that connect them together. Those lands have mystic ways all evidently shown in their presentation which keeps each one of them much like the other. Those towns aren’t any less haunted than Suburbia. There has not been a land quite so foreign to me as the land of Suburbia in its eeriness. These sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with threecar garages housing BMWs and caravans, surrounded by emerald green lawns and dotted with laughing children running around. Neighborhoods that make smalltalk but keep their dark secrets hidden better than the Holy Grail.
Everyone knows each other but not well enough to judge. We know names and faces but do we really know everything about them? Do we know their favorite songs? Their family history? We only know what we see on the outside and from what we observe, we make hasty judgements. At the neighborhood block parties and barbecues over the summer, there is always room for small talk. They’ll ask about my family and my life at home while judging every aspect of my home and my life. The weather always comes into conversation no matter how hard I would try to avoid it, since it was sure to lead to an even more boring conversation. These parties gave all my neighbors the perfect opportunity to snoop through personal stuff but they never do find
the deep dark hidden secrets of their neighbors. They only judge them from the outside without knowing anything about their history.
The Bakers are the most ideal family in the neighborhood. Mr. Baker works at a fancy law firm in chicago while Mrs. Baker stays home and plays the role of the 1950s housewife.
They were childhood friends and rekindled their relationship in college at University of Illinois back in 1986. Following graduation, they got married and moved to Orland Park to live in the same house they’ve had since 1988. Their kids were smart and athletic, they never misbehaved and even their family dog was polite.
Most of the arguments started in the neighborhood were over small things such as someone’s tree is crossing over their property line, or someone hasn’t mowed their lawn in two weeks, making the rest of the neighborhood look bad. These small arguments fueled the judgments made by surrounding neighbors which helped spread the gossip faster than a wildfire. Last month, Mr. Baker didn’t like that our family’s flower garden was too close to his precious tomato garden, so he chopped up our plants and placed them on our front yard as if he was saying “Screw you!”
Conflicts like this happen everyday but no one will ever bother to ask “why?” What is possibly so wrong with them that they decided to do something so heinous over something so pity. No one ever asks that question, so we end up going back to the same routine of fake smiles as we water our lawn and judge the families surrounding us.
Night is a different time, it is then when you can hear the truths of the people closest to me. I can hear the screaming parents yelling at their disobedient teenagers or the loud shatter of a
fallen vase from arguing couples. The next sounds will be door slams or the sound of…