In 2003, one of my older brothers moved his young family to the suburbs of Toronto. Going to visit him was a bit of a pain for me, the downtown girl with no car and no license. I would schlep my behind to my parents’ house or haul my butt to the GO Train and make my way to Pickering, a suburb of the Centre of the Universe, to visit my mini me, who was joined by her sister misery guts the following year.
In the years that passed, I tried dating guys who lived just outside of the city core, with little success. With each relationship failure, I vowed never to move to the suburbs as they were too far away and nothing exciting never went on there. I disliked how you had to drive everywhere, communities didn’t seem walkable or didn’t seem as close-knit as the one that I grew up in or as vibrant as the one I was living in within the city.
But then things change.
You get yourself caught up in a whirlwind and next thing you know your view changes from concrete and glass out your balcony window every day, to the same vista becoming a smaller and smaller image from a train window every day as you make your way out of the city to your new home in the suburbs.
I’ve become what I swore I never would. I am a suburbanite. I have eaten my words, much to the delight of my older brother who asks me to remind him where I live now every time I see him or have a conversation with him. This is far more frequently now as I live much closer to him as well.
But what I didn’t expect was the reaction I received to these changes. The negative way in which my people I come into contact with on a day-to-day basis have greeted me with the news. So many don’t understand my switch from TO to GTA, have a serious hate-on for the ‘burbs, wonder if Hulk and I have killed each other yet or are waiting for me run screaming back to the city (or to make the 6 o’clock news for throwing someone onto the tracks on my daily commute). I get that a lot are doing it in jest but the repetitive nature of it has grated on me and makes me wonder what the heck is up.
My new postal code hasn’t changed me. I’m still me. Perhaps it’s harder to schedule time with me but my humour is the same, my butt still sits in the same chair at work every day and my phone number hasn’t changed a single digit. So why the need to treat me differently?
My identity isn’t related to the city I call home. Home is just a place I keep my underwear.
If you need me, I will be right here, cuddled up in my happy place in the burbs, with the people (and even the lil furball) I love. Even Dave the Garden Gnome is happy to have found a new home. I have expressed some concerns about getting him a winter coat. We’re still negotiating that one. I will keep you updated on that one.
But I promise to never change who I am and visit often. I pinky swear.