(Soundtrack: Suburbs by The Arcade Fire)
I grew up in the suburbs; they have their benefits. They are great for families and kids, safe and comfortable. Schools, parks and grocery are all close by. Hop on a freeway or major road for a minute or ten and you can be downtown. That’s fine, for them. I want to belong to “the city” though; I want to feel a part of the culture that is Austin.
Merriam-Webster defines Suburb: an outlying part of a city.
The tricky part of this definition is “outlying” – the literal reader wants to then know what outlying means: remote from a center or main body.
Therefore, I do not live in the suburbs; I am not far from the center, not remote. I don’t consider where I live now to be the suburbs, a few miles west or south of course but not where I live. I am only 8 miles from the city’s center and can be there quickly by cruising up Mopac.
Recently heartbroken that I couldn’t ride my new-to-me bike to my favorite coffee shop, someone mentioned it was because I live in the suburbs. Literal me thought, “No, you’re wrong, thanks for playing”; equitable me wanted to investigate the theory.
I started to think geographically, look at the way the city is designed. What is Austin? Briefly, it is: Barton Springs, 6th street, the Capitol, South Congress, UT, music venues like Stubb’s or Emo’s, and of course Town Lake (now known as Lady Bird Lake). These are all inside a loop formed by Mopac, 183, I-35, and 71. Since I live outside the outlined loop listed above, I live in the suburbs. Others parts of Austin could all into an exception if one can access downtown without the use of a major road.
I am okay with this new realization because the house I live in now isn’t where ill always live, but more of a stepping stone. Maybe even a step or ten closer to the center of the city.