Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Mean Streets of Suburbia or..Whores Need Food Too

I am convinced that there is no more scary place than a lovely, tree-lined neighborhood filled with lawn mowing dads, cheery Baby-Bjorn wearing moms and tail-wagging yellow labs whose owners strategically place plastic cups (the same used at keg parties in my former life) beneath their raised tails to catch the dog doo as it comes out. No, I didn’t make that up.

Take my neighborhood. It's a great place with the aforementioned tree-lined streets. And the people really are friendly. We received no less than ten baked goods the first week we moved in. We were wondering if they were from some sort of a cult sent to recruit us. But they were just being hospitable

But the thing that bothers me about suburbia is that, on the outside, it's the picture of normality. But just beneath the veneer there's something deep and dark writhing and waiting to come out. Okay, so maybe I'm the crazy one. Maybe I'm more comfortable in the baddest and meanest of cities. I just respect the in-your-faceness of those places. No one gives a damn about you and they don't mind you knowing it.

And while I haven't discovered the dirty underbelly just yet, my ‘hood’ has its share of characters. So far, there’s the Sex-Talker. The Giver. And the Taker. Sounds like a country song.

The Sex-Talker: She’s the one two houses down with the fake leg and the scary friend with the turquoise car who asked me to pray for her husband as I walked the dog one day. Neighborhood lore has it that she was in an accident that left her with a type of brain damage that causes her to talk about sex all the time. Yet she’s refused to engage in the topic when I’ve seen her. What’s up with that? It’s like walking past a construction site gritting your teeth, thinking, “They’d better not say anything to me dammit” and when they don’t, you’re thinking “Hey! What? Is my butt big today?”

The Giver: She loves to give. Three, four, sometimes five emails a day. She’s the self-appointed leader of the neighborhood and has taken it upon herself to give updates on who’s doing what, when and with whom. Her latest project -- a sign-up sheet to cook dinner for all new moms in the neighborhood for two months. Two months!

So, with the arrival of the first sign-up sheet and the comment that New Mom #1 “Was totally into being cooked for”, I signed up. And, while I can barely get it together to cook for my own little family, I spent the better part of Sunday evening toiling in the kitchen.

The Taker: The next day, feeling benevolent and a little Martha Stuart, I called New Mom #1 and tried to coordinate delivering her meal. Three times. Each time she shot down my offers to bring her the dinner with an “I’m busy” or my favorite “Ummm no, we’re eating dinner right now.” Dinner? Like the kind I spent Sunday making you? She must have sensed that I was about to suggest a whole new use for the chicken dish I’d made and offered to pick it up. Which she did. With a smirk and no thank you.

Overall, I'm into the neighborhood thing and I don't mean to knock it. It's nice to know there are outings for moms who want to get sloshed and playgroups and hot chocolate during Christmas. But it can also be judgmental and gossipy.

But really, am I any better than that? Maybe I need to be a nicer person. Maybe I'm part of the problem and should do my part without complaining. And what I'm thinking is that whores need to eat too. Maybe I’ll send out an email.


At October 5, 2004 at 2:41 PM, Blogger Matt Mc said...

For what it's worth, you've made it onto my favorites list. Good reading. It's fun to hear a young mother talk like that; I've always wondered about the truth behind the smiling new mother's face. Great. Oh, and...write a book.


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