Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where the Heck is Suburbia Majora?

I've been asked on some occasions just where the heck is this Suburbia Majora you claim to reside in. Apparently, I seem to be the only person in the kingdom of Blogspot who lives there. OK, I confess... It's a tongue in cheek thing.

Looking down at our Big Blue Marble from space at night, one's attention is grabbed by a scar of light that cuts across the eastern coast of North America. This light source runs from Boston, MA to Richmond, VA and tells the viewer that they are clearly viewing a sort of Megalopolis. This light represents six major U.S. cities, scads of minor cities and all of the connecting arteries. Deep in the indiscernible darkness of all this light lies Suburbia Majora.

Suburbia Majora seems to be a pan geographic web consisting of cul du sacs, planned communities, draconian home owner associations, nail salons, youth soccer leagues, soul numbing traffic, and Chinese takeout joints. In Suburbia Majora, localities seem to exist only for the purpose of tax levies. Outside of that, there is no trustworthy means of determining your precise location. Every Bloom strip mall has the requisite video store, dry cleaner, pharmacy, and Chinese takeout. Why for the love of all that's holy, you could be in Falmouth or Celebrate Virginia. For that matter, you could be in New Castle or Newtown Square. Maybe though, the most troubling aspect of Suburbia Majora is that it is a land of "petty kings" and there sealed castles.

I grew up in Coatesville Pennsylvania when it was still a vibrant city of promise. Day and night, the smokestacks belched out smoke that became a haze in the evenings. Sounds like the mill whistle and the thunder of tapped steel was white noise. For all of this, there were row homes and doubles, all of them having front porches. from May through September, these front porches became a hub of life as neighbors swapped stories, indulged in gossip, told jokes, and watched the neighborhood children play. You knew your neighbors, and they knew you. "Warts and all", there was community.

This is not so in Suburbia Majora. Here in this hermit kingdom parents rise early, perhaps as early as 3:30 AM. The garage door goes up and the family goes their way. Dad is off to sit in traffic or load up into the van pool. Mom drops Ashley and Justin off at the before-school caregiver. Then she, in-turn, sloughs off into the traffic. The dance is repeated in the evenings until finally, the garage door shuts and the king, his queen and their progeny are tucked safely into their castle.

NEXT: The problem with all this (Stay tuned)

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