I live in a nice quiet suburban town.

I did not, until this very morning, truly understand how difficult suburban living is. With the aid of my neighbor, a first time home buyer and suburban resident, I now truly know how difficult suburban living is. The many pitfalls that await the first time suburban resident. But as a life long suburbanite what I am most impressed by is the sheer number of things I’d simply never even think of doing.

Mistake #1: No matter how soon you think it is going to rain, no matter how high your grass is, the tao of suburban living says: do not mow your grass at 6AM on a Saturday morning. This will seriously annoy your neighbors, who, might perchance, to day dream of sleep.

Mistake #2: Never show up at the neighborhood block party. The block party serves the most useful function of getting to the people on your block, which is nice, because when you do something like mow your lawn at 6AM on a Saturday, people are more willing to let it pass if they actually know who you are.

Mistake #3: Water features and small lots do not mix. 1/4 acre is simply too small for a fountain in the front of your yard to look good. But so far the only thing going on is a difference in taste — and to be honest, it isn’t like mine is so hot. But, while you think of a fountain as a good thing, rest of your block thinks of it as a death trap for their small and stupid children.

Mistake #4: If you live one block away from a forest preserve with a river in it, don’t leave out 50 gallon lidless drums of water. You might discover that your neighbors are rather sensitive about mosquitoes. Yes, I know your copper downspouts were stolen. Get them replaced instead of placing 50 gallon chemical drums under the old downspout locations. You’ll also find that your neighbors are sensitive to the notion that their small (and yes, still stupid) children might, say, climb into said 50 gallon drum and drown. Can you say sunk cost?

Mistake #5: Don’t talk to your neighbors about upcoming projects to your house. The tao of suburban living says let your neighbors know about house work that will involve bobcats. They’re much happier if they know how long things will last, and how much disruption to their lives their will be.

Mistake #6: If a large angry neighbor (not me) starts yelling at you to knock it off at 6:30 AM, knock it off.

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