So I am officially a suburban husband.
The inarguable signals are all around. My wife and I had to borrow her uncle's pickup truck because the Corolla was in the shop for a few days and neither of us can commute to work without a car. Memphis doesn't have a public transportation system as comprehensive as Chicago, not by a long shot. So getting to work from home is impossible without our own wheels. We dream of getting a second car someday soon so that we don't have to pick each other up from work when one of us has the car. The other smaller signs include the block being totally empty of cars and people when I step outside on a weekday to retrieve the mail, the monthly bills for garbage pickup and lawn care, and the fact that none of the houses on the block look different from each other. It can be described as a mundane, humdrum, dull existence. I call it The American Dream.
Hey, where I come from, a house this nice in a neighborhood this nice is something you have to work very hard to earn. And my wife has worked her ass off for over twenty years, and she bought this house not long before she met me, so it wasn't for my benefit or anyone else, it was her reward for herself. I'm just here glomming on. And I'm really soaking up all of the relaxation that comes with living in an area where you don't have to duck bullets on the way home or worry about the neighbors playing loud music or having rowdy children. Hell, we had a next-door neighbor that seemed dangerous, and that family disappeared. Yeah, just vanished. I'm not shitting you. It was an interracial couple, black dude and white chick, and they had at least one mixed toddler running around with (hopefully fake) tattoos and a diaper and nothing else. We wouldn't care less normally, but they loved to fight. I mean, late nights, loud, and consistent. The wife wanted to call the police, they got so loud. One of them ran over our cables with the lawn mower and knocked our internet and cable out for a week. Fucked up, right? Then they upped the crazy by bringing a couple of dogs into the family, and not just puppies, but pit bulls! And if that's not bad enough, one morning I was about to take out the trash through the back door, but the wife called my attention to a bedroom window, which showed our back patio being inhabited by the dogs thanks to a broken gate. They were sniffing around our grill and snooping like they owned the joint. Oh, hell to the naw, we said, and we started investigating which phone numbers we had to call to inform the city of this problem. We had to start driving the garbage around the corner to the cans because I didn't want to risk walking out there and getting consumed. I was even considering going next door and having a conversation with these people, because maybe they would be reasonable and keep those things behind their own walls. But I must admit, I wasn't sure if they would be reasonable because nothing about them suggested that they could spell reasonable, much less understand it.
Well, maybe a week, week and a half after the dogs made their first appearance, one day, we noticed that the usual buzz wasn't coming from next door. No dogs barking, no TV blaring, no loud arguing. Sure seemed like the house was empty. And we took note every day, and so far, no one has seemed to be living next door, and this empty house thing started about a week before our wedding. So that's two months now. Just vanished. Poof! Now, the wife says that these people that were living there were not the homeowners, that the actual owners lived somewhere else and were renting out the house. Her theory is that someone let the real owners know what was going down in their crib, and they cleaned it out. Whatever happened, it was kinda awesome and scary how quickly that whole family was, from our vantage point, eradicated from the face of the earth. But it fits with the vibe of this community, which is, nothing too out of the ordinary will be tolerated. The wife has received notes about her garbage can being in the driveway when it should be behind our gate, and she says that years ago, an unapproved flower pot also simply vanished, and she's convinced that someone in the homeowners association was behind the theft. That's a little much, I admit, but I'm also thrilled at the thought of aberrant behavior being policed so vigilantly. Again, I'm from the hood in the Chi, and this is all the stuff of dreams to me.
So on this, my 36th birthday and first as a married man, I'm very content with the non-professional part of my life. Make no mistake, I'm still ambitious about getting into sports media as a new career. But at the moment, it's all about working at my (hopefully) secure position with Symcor, which was purchased by Xerox, and making plans along with my spouse to save enough money to go back to school. This personal side of my life was up in the air at this time last year because I didn't know when I would be able to make my move down here to start life with my wife. But I made the move, and I'm settling in to a comfortable existence in the suburbs of Memphis. I really am a very lucky man.
And for those times when I want to rebel a little and break out of my humdrum shell, hey, the bass on the Corolla can crank up pretty high. Had to pump out some Heavy D. a few weeks ago in honor of the late rapper. Shed a tear at the beauty of the moment. Driving through a froufrou suburb, doing 40 MPH in a 30 zone, making my little Toyota vibrate with the sounds of the streets. Suburban hubby...still a nigga to the core.
Black coffee, no sugar, no cream...