Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Field of Suburban Dreams

If beauty is pain, then Manhattan should be on the cover of People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People issue.

The Big Apple took a giant bite outta me twice this weekend. I went to a 10am dance audition on Friday morning, even though I had given myself whiplash at an audition the morning before. I have this bad habit of not warming up before auditions and paying the price afterward. Anyway, this particular audition was pretty brutal. It was abnormally long and included two giant flamenco-style lunges. By the end of the 75 minutes, I couldn't breathe and both my neck and my quads hated me. But I'm not complaining about the audition or about my poor warm-up skills. My complaint is the fact that after all of that dancing, I still had to walk 10 blocks home and hike up 97 stairs before I could finally get to my ice pack.

Now, I understand that there aren't a lot of dance auditions in the suburbs, but I'm sure that many people go to the gym and may sometimes work out just a tad harder than usual. This was that same feeling. The difference is that in the suburbs, a post-workout routine would probably include settling into a plush car seat and stopping at Taco Bell on the way home. At least, that’s what I would do. The only additional physical effort would be leaning far enough out of the driver's seat to be heard by the drive-thru sound system. In my case,  my brain had to give my feet specific instructions about hitting the pavement one at a time or else I would have made no forward movement.

Other than a throbbing right quad, my injuries--caused by self-inflicted idiocy--had pretty much cleared up by Saturday morning, when I journeyed to Bed, Bath, & Beyond to pick up a bridal shower gift. A friend and I agreed to co-purchase a coffeemaker, and since I lived closer to the store, I volunteered to make the trip. It never occurred to me that a medium-sized coffeemaker would be contained in such a monstrous box. And somehow, after being swaddled in complementary gift packaging (Thank you, BBB!), it seemed five pounds heavier and five inches wider than before.

Since I am used to lugging things around the city (as you may have read in previous postings), I thought that even though the 20-block walk home would be an uncomfortable one, I could probably make it. Well, that thought flew out the window within a half a block. The giant bag that housed the giant coffeemaker barely cleared the ground by an inch, and that was only if I leaned to the left while holding the bag in my right hand. Since my frugal/hearty little soul couldn't stand to give in and take a taxi, I waited for the bus. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long, but the box was too big to put on my lap or underneath my seat. So I put it on the floor next to me, which essentially blocked the entire aisle, causing people who passed by to tiptoe around it and curse me under their breath. I just gave them bright, unconcerned smiles and said, "So sorry about that!" while secretly seething inside. I thought I was home free when I got off the bus, which (thankfully!) stops right across the street from my apartment...but of course the bag broke while I was jaywalking to get to my side of the block. I had to awkwardly clutch the bag while making sure cars weren't about to flatten the both of us. 

And I still had 97 steps to contend with.

Once again, I was left feeling completely jealous of suburbanites. If only I could have thrown that coffeemaker into the trunk of my minivan and called it a day. How wonderful it must be to select a shower gift based on your taste, her registry, price, and availability without once considering weight and portability! What must that be like? I'm sure people who live in the 'burbs have other obstacles to contend with, but in my urban head, things seem so easy out there. I picture legions of women shopping for shower gifts in Donna Reed-style outfits and heels, daintily setting them in their cars, then using the extra time and energy they have from not carrying and and not walking to skip with joy around the parking lot. If I ever come face to face with such a person, I imagine this Field of Dreams-style conversation would ensue:

"Is this heaven?"

"No, it's the suburbs."



  1. Do I ever feel guilty! I hate walking from my driveway and then 5 steps up into my house with my packages!
    You've got my complete admiration, Urban Upstater!

  2. Coming from a suburban transplant living in a city, you hit the nail on the head. How annoying is it to have to consider the weight and shape of what you are purchasing.

    My one question for you, however, is what in the world would YOU order from Taco Bell? Cinnastix? I know you aren't eating no taco!

  3. Haha! Excellent question, Anonymous. My preferred Taco Bell order is two soft tacos with tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and mild sauce. Maybe some chips and cheese dip if I'm feeling especially hungry. But in all honesty, I'd be more likely to stop at McDonald's for a large french fry.

  4. This post came to mind when I was in LA recently. I was with a big group of friends and some thought nothing of walking everywhere while others balked at it. Interestingly, the biggest advocates for walking were from Portland, OR and Albany,NY while the one who always wanted to drive was from LA.

  5. I don't think I could handle the drive everywhere L.A. mentality. I need a good middle ground. I could walk anywhere and long as I didn't have a giant/heavy/bulky bag with me. Add something like that into the picture, and I'm all about a car!