Moving from a rural farming community to a suburb replete with conveniences like a coffee shop within walking distance and mass transit easily accessible, I am amazed when after nine months, I still have not met a single neighbor in my apartment complex. A large enough complex with seven buildings, a common area, a pool, and a fitness center, and still no one speaks. Head nods are the equivalent of hello. Averted eyes are the accustomed signal ~ do not disturb. When circumstances gave me options of where I would move when leaving the farming community, I chose what I thought was a well balanced suburb of a major city. Where jobs would be more readily available, and people would be gregarious and accessible. Boy, was I ever wrong. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice suburb. It is verdant, clean, has a low crime rate, and unemployment is low. I can walk for hours around the area and see nice homes, and good schools. There just isn’t any neighborliness in my small piece of this town. Not even one person to grumble a hello my way. Being single here is rough when no one will acknowledge that you exist. Being single and fifty ~ even worse. I am surrounded by busy young people with busy lives, too busy to notice one of the older set. On the other hand, my muse loves the weather…
The only plus of moving here thus far, has been writing. I write, and write. I write everyday; snippets and paragraphs, pages and volumes. Some days the words do not stop. The steady stream pours over the keyboard like oil over water, spreading to cover the surface. Other days the words come in short spurts, sprinting breathless to the finish line. But write I must. Staring at a blank page on the laptop or desktop with nothing coming from my heart and mind through my fingers, is extremely painful. So, I write. Starting with a disjointed thought, followed by a favorite word. This goes on until I pause, and look out my window to the empty parking lot, and up at windows covered with mini-blinds that do not seem to open to the world outside. At those times I wonder why I chose this place, in this town.
Today is such a day. Writing about it brings it all back to the surface. The choice to leave one state for another. One lifestyle for another. All the choices made to bring me to this alien world of silent occupants.
My lease will be up soon and I don’t think I’ll re-sign or stay. I can go anywhere as I am still underemployed, but where to go? Back to a small town with some of the pitfalls of small town living including high unemployment, or try to get closer to the metropolis and hope to be noticed in a crowd. I know there must be a middle ground somewhere. Rural, suburban, urban. Two down, one to go.
Comments on: "Suburbia 2012" (1)
It is the same in Singapore – we are lonely in crowds. People do the same – eyes averted, stingy nods of acknowledgement. Hey, wait a moment – what am I doing about it instead of complaining. I smile…and smile…and smile at people. Most ignore, some acknowledge. It is hard but it reflects poorly on them more than on me. I’m in control of my happiness – not them.