Do You Live in Suburgatory?

Updated on November 11, 2011
P.S. asks from Houston, TX
17 answers

Sometimes I feel like I do. I live in the 'burbs of Houston and its a cross between hillbilly and redneck. I hate it but we got such a good deal on our house and land that we couldn't resist buying it nor give it up.

I used to live in the city. And I loved it. We actually had a car but for some reason our building's lot doubled as a nearby hotel's valet parking on the weekends. Luckily we could park on most of the nearby streets for free...if you could find a spot.

I lived in a 4 story building. It had a Melrose Place courtyard but no pool, landscape or hot bodies...just cement. We had a beautiful iron entrance gate and I still miss it creaking. Our building was an old renovated warehouse and I love the old and new parts of the building.

Our rooftop was awesome. We had an awesome pool and co-op patios where we could keep potted plants. There were actually apartments up there accessible only by rooftop, so I guess it was a 5 story building too. I always thought that was wierd. But the view was the best part. All you could see were buildings for blocks and blocks. sitting up there w/a cup of coffee in the morning watching the sunrise and listening to the traffic below is one of my most treasured memories.

I love the history of my old 'hood. there is nothing like that in the cookie cutter neighborhood I live in now. There was such a unique level of care for each other I still have yet to find here in the 'burbs. If Mrs. McCrackle in 310 was sick, word got around and we checked in on her or brought her dinner. Here, my nieghbors can barely wave to each other and most of the time they look miserable.

don't get me wrong, I love my friends here and they are wonderful people but they seem like they live in a bubble and are so sheltered. In my circle of say 10 close friends, maybe 1 or 2 of them will go downtown with me to do something. Maybe they fear the long drive, idk. But that's what I miss about the city. I could leave my building, walk a block or two, pickup some milk or take out, and be home in 15 mins. Here in the 'burbs, I have to drive everywhere and I have to plan on being in the car for at least 30-45 mins round trip of just driving.

I know, I know, you can't compare living in the city to living in the suburbs. But I do miss the city. Are you a displaced city dweller?

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answers from Cleveland on

No, even though I was born and raised here I still feel like I am a "displaced" warm weather dweller lol. I HATE snow, I HATE cold, and I HATE the rudeness of Northern people. When I visit family in the south, it's a different world. People are so much kinder and genuine for the most part. I have no experience w/ bigger cities in warmer states. But I do agree most "neighbors" really aren't "neighborly" :(

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answers from Houston on

You certainly have used the typical "negatives" about living in the suburbs. Redneck and hillbilly? Really? I live in the suburbs of Houston and I most certainly am not redneck, hillbilly, living in a bubble or sheltered. I don't know if they "fear the drive" maybe they just don't love the city like you do. As for living in the city, I think it depends on the city. Would I want to live in Houston? Not really. Would I want to live in New York City? Hell yeah! I just don't care of the negative generalizations you made because people are different and don't love the city like you do.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I am completely the opposite. I grew up in the country and I mean their are 5 houses within seeing distance of my parents home. The road until a few years ago didnt even have a double yellow line.
I lived with my grandmother for awhile in town, what most of you call the suburbs. I hated every minute of it. The constant noise from the cars all night, police and ambulance sirens at night I couldnt get out fast enough.
Right now we live in a small plan. We bought our place 10 years ago knowing that it was only going to last 10-12 years. We are now actively looking for a place that has at least 5 acres of land, hopefully on a small road or even off of a dirt road. The less houses in view the better!

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answers from Houston on

You cited all the reasons we've not made the exodus to the 'burbs. The houses are cheap but you still pay a steep price. :)

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answers from Erie on

Why would I want to live with only white people? ew.

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answers from Minneapolis on

We moved to a neighboring suburb about 20 minutes from our hometown, but it might as well have been a move to the "outback." Almost 10 years later, and I'm STILL suffering culture shock from the move. There are no backward people, but it is a very closed community.

For me? I reaaaally miss sidewalks. They're an amazing thing. Just like in the Wizard of Oz, they can lead you to so many wonderful places and things in just one hop, skip, and jump away.

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answers from Jacksonville on

LOL I am completely opposite from you! I lived in St. Louis for a while, a huge apartment complex. It was noisy and crowded and I felt like we were living on top of each other, yet I still didn't know any of my neighbors. I don't miss hauling our laundry down three flights of stairs, getting woken up by partying, or people stomping up and down stairs. I don't miss having to walk my dogs five times a day to do their business.

When we moved back home we lived in a little duplex out in the sticks and I loved it (with the exception of the barking neighbor dogs). I loved the peaceful drive to and from work, and I loved that I had room to breath.

Now we live in Florida, and we are in a bigger subdivision....but still what they consider "out in the country". LOL not even close, but I really do love our area. I know most of our surrounding neighbors, which is actually a first. If I could pick this place up with all the neighbors and my husbands job and move it back to Missouri...well that would be heaven. :)

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answers from Cleveland on

Yes I do!

I grew up in Chicago. I love LOVE Chicago. I moved from Chicago to Akron, Oh...because my b/f wanted a slower pace & a newer place.
Oh my goodness am I BORED out here.
Unfortunetly I do NOT have any friends here. I've lived here for 3 years now and don't know anyone that I can actually get along with. Except my b/f's co workers. His team (all guys) love hanging out with me (so they say) because they say "it's like hanging out with another guy that can cook"

I've lived in my new house for 6-7 months now and I know 1 neighbor. I wave I try to introduce myself...and I get ignored.
I am a very active, sarcastic, energetic person, and I think I scare people here. I' think I'm too Intense for these suburban Ohio folk...haha

Give me my City back!

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answers from Dallas on

When I lived inHouston I hated life. I was just west of the mall on I-10. It sucked hard. Traffic was so insane. Maybe it was all the people driving in from the Burbs that made the traffic so bad? I couldn't get out fast enough.

Now I live in a little town right in between 2 huge cities. I couldn't be happier. There's a real sense of community and a small town feeling of warmth and friendliness. But, I'm 10 minutes from either cities downtown. It's ideal here.

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answers from San Antonio on

We were building a house in the suburbs, but got out of the contract because my husband decided he just couldn't do it. So we bought a house in a historic district a few minutes from downtown. (We moved here from a small town because of our jobs--I was done commuting an hour each way.) It's a great area--I wouldn't live anywhere else. But there is a price too--we have young kids, and the schools are rated rather poorly in our area. They are in private school right now, but we'll have to see how long we can afford that. I'm also sad because so many buildings are in disrepair in the shopping centers closeby. It's an area that used to be thriving, but everyone left for the suburbs. There's a lot of distrust in shopowners around here--at McDonald's they would not give me an empty cup for water--they had to fill it for me behind the counter. I guess too many people have taken advantage and gotten soda in their water cups. My car was broken into after we'd lived here a week (in my own driveway).

I do love being so close to downtown, and being centrally located, it doesn't take me more than 20-30 minutes to get to the other side of the city. The main advantage for me is the drive time. We miss our small town, and this has been an adjustment, but I'm glad we did it. I think it would have been less of an adjustment for me to go to suburbia, but my husband just couldn't do it.



answers from Amarillo on

No and yes. I lived in a small town (40,000) as a child and then married a person who lived in the city. We moved to Tucson in the 70s and then to Canada in the late 70s for four years out in the real country. Town was about 200 people if that with roads that did have a double yellow line and red poles off of the fire hyrdrants. Winters were brutal and the snowblower would come down and clear the roads. Average winter snowfall was about 15 feet our first year was 20 plus. Next stop sin city in the early 80s before it exploded into the mega gaming capital of the world. A plane ride and a world away we learned European culture. Hotel had communal bath at end of hall. Room temps were very low and the place was chilly. Our apartment was not much better. But you did learn who your neighbors were and when the stores were open and closed. Lunch was from 1 pm to 3 pm daily. Saturday stores open half a day except first Saturday of month. No business conducted on Sunday unless you were on the base. Now I am back in the states and living in New Mexico. I am glad that I do like the desert arid lifestyle I just don't have the mountains here. There are three neighbors that I know on the block of 20 years and the rest have come and gone several times over. Our closest big cities are Lubbock and Amarillo (90 minutes away) and Albuquerque (3 hours away).

With each place since I left home there have been challenges. The apartment we first rented was furnished and had two bedrooms for all of our stuff. We bought a home and moved in and stayed for five years at least I did (hubby was somewhere half way around the world a few times). Sold that home and didn't buy another until we got our last assignment in NM.

My favorite spot would be a warm climate in the mid to high 80s all year long, with scenic beauty, accessible transportation (other than car) to get around, cultural events, good medical, nice land or acres (2 is good) and mid paced life style or vibe. Haven't found it yet.

Living in the burbs as described is fine for some but it is a sterile environment and all the kids come out as cookie cutter soccer playing. Life is all about diversity and the burbs do limit that experience for many.

I know wishful thinking. Life is what you make it. The warehouse apartment does sound nice sort of an island amidst the storm. The rooftop terrace with coffee and paper while listening to the city below does sound nice. Oh well another place another time.

The other S.

PS I do have other neighbors in the area (two or three block rim) that we get together and do things. If I need something, I will go to a neighbor's hosue for help and the same for me.



answers from Houston on

When we first moved to the "burbs, I too was frustrated at the lack of intimacy of our neighbors, so I started doing block parties once a month. I'd have my son put an "invitation" on everyone's door on our street (only 2 blocks long) and on Friday evening, set out a six foot table at the end of our driveway and everyone brought something to share - whether it was drinks, or some other kind of finger food. By the time I left the neighborhood, we were doing it every Friday night - everyone just expected it and it gave us such a wonderful sense of community. Course, no one had kids in high school, we were all young families or no children couples so we didn't compete with the local football games. It was the most WONDERFUL thing. YOU CAN make a difference - you've just got to start it!!!



answers from Savannah on

I really think it matters "suburb of what city", or "what suburb"? There may be some plain jane boring places, but there are also some amazing places. Just as you can't generalize people and be accurate or fair, you also can't generalize a TYPE of community (made up of people!!!) and be entirely accurate or fair.
As a small child, I lived on a 24 acre farm, out in the woods. A wonderful 100+ year old wooden farmhouse that my parents rennovated with things like, a bathroom instead of the outhouse, etc. (ha!) It was fun to talk walks and explore, kinda lonely but I was also very young and just didn't have much of a social life. Growing up from 3rd through 7th grade I lived in a subdivision outside of Houston and had fun, but it wasn't SO built up yet---we could walk to the park, the neighborhood pool, my elementary school to the left and my middle school to the right. We could ride our bikes through the woods, down the bayou, behind our house biking distance we could rent horses, and we lived close to a lot of things so on weekends we could go to the movies, the mall, out to eat, and to a young teen dance every month. We were busy with track, softball, volleyball, swim team, and football. Then we moved to Louisiana for 6 years and had a big yard and more rural style playing, but you could drive 30 minutes to either Baton Rouge or New Orleans and had the great stuff there. I spent time in several developing nations. I got a great flat that I shared with friends downtown where we could walk to the orchestra hall and movie theater, a lovely square with bars, coffee shops, restaurants, a bookstore, etc. But I knew nothing about my neighbors except about what time they came home. That was neat as a young adult. It all came full circle and we had kids and moved back to the suburbs between Ft Worth and Dallas. LOVED IT. Best place we've ever lived, for our needs, at least. We could walk to the park, the spray park, a pond to feed ducks and turtles, we had block parties, we knew our neighbors and had them over (or went to their homes) regularly and always for birthday parties, we were 1 1/2 miles from our private community pool complex (a resort pool, a garden covered waterfall pool, 2 waterslides, a baby pool, a full sized playground in the water with a giant bucket above it, a lap pool with an added deep end square and a shallow end square, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a fantastic clubhouse on a hill overlooking everything), community events (loved the Christmas festival with hayrides, Santa, Mrs Claus, elves, real reindeer, snow machines, toy soldiers on stilts, costumed characters, a community lazer tag and Wii competition on large blow up screens, cookie bakeoffs, etc, etc, etc), community sports teams that competed with other communities, loads of parks in the area, a skateboard park, an indoor soccer complex very close, baseball, football, soccer fields very close, award winning schools within bicycle distance from wherever you lived, just a couple miles from an old fashioned arcade, a bounce house center, batting cages, etc. Within 30 minutes in any direction you could eat any kind of ethinic food, the zoo, tons of museums and playhouses, some lakes to play at, and downtown Ft Worth. There were more camps, classes, outdoor activities, clubs, and events than you could shake a stick at. While the community was predominately white, my son's preschool class had 16 children in it, 5 ethnic backgrounds represented. My tiny church (40 people) would have 4 languages going on at once at the Christmas party---French, Spanish, English, Swahilli. I was proud to be able to introduce my son to new ideas and new customs, people that were different in where they are from or how they talked, but the same where it really counts. He also went on his first mission trip at 2 years old. It is the parents responsibility to go explore and bring their children out to experience the broader world. I worked with an innercity hispanic youth center for years and you would be surprised how many of them could not tell you how to get to their house from the movie they just watched, without taking you the long 40 minute bus route back (when they lived a few miles away), or who couldn't give directions anywhere outside their own little zone, and that was downtown. So families that fail to see the "big picture" come from all places: rural, suburban, or urban. The house we loved so much was the suburbs. But it was clean, safe, had the best of all worlds, TONS to do, and I would take great exception to someone calling it "suburgatory". We are proud that we were able to provide the experiences that living there afforded. And we joined groups that made sure everyone was covered: when I had my baby, we had people bring a meal a day for 2 weeks. When I had knee surgery someone down the street came to check on me and brought "quiet toys" to keep my 2 year old occupied. We kept an eye on each other without getting into each other's business. SO much fun. Perhaps its the city you live in, or even your own attitude, rather than the suburbs? (Because I've noticed a couple people from near this home I'm talking about that also say they love where they live). Granted, my son LOVED downtown and we were there nearly every weekend.
Now we live in a mostly rural but growing town (moved because of work transfer). I do miss the ability to have "stuff" around me. I love the beach and I love the woods, but I miss "stuff", lol. The options. But, home is where you hang your hat, and I'm realizing that it's up to me to make wherever I live a home I can enjoy.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We're suburbanites right now.
Personally, I would prefer O. other extremes--city or waaaaaaaay out in the boonies.
It's O. thing to live in the suburbs but it's a conscious decision to buy into the crappier side of it! LOL


answers from Houston on

I live in a big city but its basically the suburbs, the area behind me is turning into the barrio. I miss the area i used to live in better, it was a nicer part of town, but i like this house better.



answers from College Station on

I grew up living in THE city (NYC) and there are parts that I miss. Like being able to walk everywhere and the closeness of the neighborhoods. What I don't miss are all the people and the general loudness of it. I love our little slice of TX heaven, though we are not in the 'burbs. We are not even in a subdivision. We have a house and 7acres that our boys can run and play on till their hearts content. Several times this week I had to call the two younger boys in at dark.

So, yes, and no. I miss some things, but not others. Sounds to me like you want to move back downtown. So what if you don't own your house?



answers from Austin on

I have lived in the city and I have lived in the suburbs. Now I live in the country. I loved the suburbs the best because my neighbors were more like me. Out here in the country, everyone loves it, the peace and quiet, no cars, etc. But it is too quiet and boring for me. I am a people person. I dont' want to be kept to myself. I also loved the convenience of having all the shopping, etc. within 1 - 3 miles. Now I have to make a list of all the things I need to do when I go to town. Then I run out of time and don't get it all done. Almost every time I want to make something unplanned, I am missing one ingredient and it isn't something easily borrowed from a neighbor, like a normal staple.

My husband loves it so I am making do. I am trying to get more organized so I can plan meals in advance without buying stuff that has to be thrown out because we changed plans.

I guess, bottom line, we both have to choose to love where we are so we can enjoy what we have. I'm glad you have a home. We are renting. I am trying to enjoy the advantages of that as well. When you find yourself wanting to live somewhere else, remind yourself of the negatives that would come with that. Sometimes I forget that it wasn't all rosy in the suburbs either.

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