On (not) owning a house in the suburbs
On Saturday, I drove to Wisconsin to have a girls’ night with my high-school friends. The friend who volunteered to host asked her husband to go to his parents’ for the night so we could take over the house they bought together last year, an adorable red-slatted ranch home filled with rooster tchotchkes and throw pillows and little signs with quotes like “Home Tweet Home.” (Cue precious picture of birds.) We sipped wine and ate port-cheese spread at a glass-topped patio table in a tree-filled backyard as the kids next door played in the yard. Idyllic is the only word to describe this. Well, that and foreign. This girl has a guest bedroom and a joint grocery budget. I live in a 600-square-foot apartment and my fridge right now contains two Greek yogurts, beer, expired salsa and nine sticks of butter. (I eat out a lot. And bake a lot of cookies.) I got a pang of jealousy at the charming domesticity of it all.
The hostess then confessed she was drunk on two glasses of wine because she doesn’t “get out a lot these days.” I learned the only Chinese restaurant in town didn’t deliver. We contemplated going to a bar, but the nearest stretch was a 20-minute cab ride away, if the unreliable cab service ever came at all, I was told. That’s not to mention counting on it picking us up at 1am, when bars close here.
When I left her house early this morning, I was grateful for the absolute quiet, and the smell of rain on the trees. But back in Chicago, I was even more grateful for the cluster of noisy people blocking the sidewalk outside Ann Sather’s and the slightly noxious smell of chicken soup that always seems to permeate from the 24-hour diner near my house.
This afternoon, my mom called and asked if my friend’s house made me want to buy in the suburbs. I told her I have years before I have to think about that, and resumed eating dried mango slices from Trader Joe’s for lunch and ignoring the pile of laundry I have to put away. Sure, I don’t have a two-car garage, but my 600 square feet is 100% mine—and that’s a feeling that hits home sweet home with this very proud non-homeowner.
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- janefrancesrosenblum said: This is EXACTLY how I feel when I talk to my friends from High School.
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