Good ole thanksgiving break it never lets me down. i come
into it stumbling like a fighter into his corner at the end
of the 9th round. i come out...well, like the same fighter,
only able to open both eyes enough to see the horrible
monstrosity of 4 exams and a con law paper ready to take me
out in the 10th.
now i live in the city and it opens your eyes as to how
horribly some people have life. people live in the streets
cowering from the cold, some starving, some just trying to
survive the dangerous terrain that some of us take for
granted also known as home.
well i got to go back to my home for thanksgiving. my home
is in the suburbs. it's what people make fun of. mostly
white people, there's a declaration of covenants keeping
people from doing stupid shit like putting up a 90 foot flag
pole in their yard.
and in between the lines that forbid someone from fixing up
their pickup truck in their front yard and keep others from
putting up chain link fences you see the formation of a
truly safe life coming about.
we had thanksgiving dinner at a friend of my parents, they
still live in the same neighborhood that my parents left
about 15 years ago. it's where i grew up. it's not quite
as "posh" as the one where we live now, but it is what i
immediately think of when i think of the true american
suburb. middle to upper-middle class living together,
neighbors taking care of each other, doing things such as
bring pumpkin pies or offering up a shaker of salt when
another is in dire need.
sure there's the weird neighbor who yells at the kids to
"keep the hell of the lawn!!!" and there are once in a while
waves of petty crime which instill just enough fear and
indignation at the upheavel they cause to solidify the
security of the neighborliness once again.
after dinner my family and theirs went out on a walk. in
the pitch darkness of 8 pm. we walked and the greatest
worry that we had was that someone with "too much christmas
cheer" would possibly run over us as the neighborhood
unfortunately has no sidewalks.
so we walked, i next to juliann and my brother and my
brother and i commented on how nice this all was. just
being able to walk in this pure safety. the fact taht you
didn't have to worry about rape, murder, or kidnapping in
this one singular area. that the shine of christmas lights
lit up the quite pavement as the wind gently whistled
through the old-growth deciduous trees knocking their leaves
to the ground.
that's just something that i think is the hallmark of our
lives. to be able to live in an area like that is the
greatest privilege and the greatest blessing of our culture.
we've conquered the barbarians, mongols, ottomans, romans,
nazis, and relegated the pimps, drug-dealers, and rapists
into certain segregated sections of our world so that we
coudl at the very least have these little places of safety.
even if our laws and culture can't make the entire world
good, we've been able to create sub-realities which live on
insulated from the daily escaped inmates, crazed arabs, and
it's funny because i thought for a moment that saying
something like, "wow i'd like security" is a truism. it
reminds me of the "wedding singer" (best movie ever!) when
adam sandler accuses drew barrymore of wanting nothing more
than the security which comes with the rich husband. but
what's so wrong with that?
apparently a good deal, because very few people i know
really want to live in a neighborhood like i walked thorugh.
in fact people tend to shudder at the ntoion of the "white
picket fence" or the "stepford wives" i never quite
understood that. something in our media has denigrated the
serenity of suburban life to a bleak and barren existence
inducing nothing but boredom and glorified the ghetto which
is apparently full of adventure.
but those in the ghetto want nothing out and in the
end...those in the suburbs? truthfully i've found they're
quite happy with where they are.
i'm not ashamed to be honest. i have been through a good
deal of adventure in my life. nowhere near some, but at
least a good deal enough to realize that what i want to give
my children is the safety that comes with the "boring"
suburbs. that's what really makes me so sad about the
ghetto, the druggies and dealers can kill each other for all
i care, falling to the ground clutching their guns thinking
that they're some sort of victim of some ephemereal
conspiracy against them. but those little kids who are
imprisoned in these ghettos? in these horrible inner city
schools which offer no promise for lack of funding and
despondent curriculum aimed at just keeping kids from aiming
guns at their teacher. those make me so sad. i just feel
that all kids should have that beautiful feeling of serenity
that i appreciated so much this past thanksgiving. and i
want them not to have to appreciate it. because to
appreciate it means that you have to feel what the other
reality is. i want all kids to take security and safety for
granted because later in life you realize that the only
security and safety you are ever guaranteed is either a
brief nostalgic escape into your childhood neighborhood (if
you're lucky) or that which comes with a hefty price-tag
attached to it.