I’ve got a post-election post swirling around in my head. It involves the unfortunate coupling of my elation at Obama’s victory, a bit of post-election letdown, and the fact that I live in a very red state where the average person I run into these days does not share my opinion regarding the outcome of the election. But I’m not ready to write it quite yet. And while I’m thinking–and wondering how I ended up living in a place where many seem to suspect I might be just a little bit crazy–it seems like a good time to tell a story about why I love living in Suburbia.
Before Adventure Guy and I made the move to Suburbia twelve years ago, we lived in Houston. I loved my school district and the people I worked with there. I loved our neighborhood and our home. We had good friends. But we lived our lives in anonymity. I can’t recall ever running into someone I knew as I went about my day-to-day life in the city.
But when we moved to Suburbia, I became part of a community, a community where I’m likely to run into former students at a restaurant, co-workers and friends at the corner grocery store, fellow soccer moms at the mall. Tonight, as I walked in to meet Adventure Guy and the kids for dinner, I spotted a student from my first year of teaching at All-American High School. He and his brother were having dinner and watching football.
It must have been the football part that did me in. I couldn’t resist pointing the guys out to Soccer Boy because both my former student and his brother are local stars of sorts–my student, a quarterback for All-American High, and his brother a stand-out in both high school and at our state university. As soon as I identified them, Adventure Guy reminded me of one of my very own pinnacle football moments.
A few years ago, we trekked over to the state university to watch Texas A & M play. I found myself surrounded in the stands by several of Adventure Guy’s friends with no other women close by. Unfortunately, the game was not going well for A & M. But, finally, we’d held the other team on third down, and they came in to attempt a field goal. At which point, they announced that my student’s brother would be the holder. I promptly said, “They’re going to fake it.” Adventure Guy asked me why, just as I said, “He was a high school quarterback.” Seconds later, he took the snap and promptly threw a touchdown, leaving Adventure Guy’s friends who’d heard the conversation literally dumbstruck. And I just smiled and took credit for being a football genius.
And while that may not be exactly true–or at least not true outside the realm of my All-American High football expertise–what is real is my place in the All-American Public Schools community. I belong here in a way that I’ve never experienced as an adult, in a way that makes me feel grounded. It obviously makes Adventure Guy feel at home too, considering he couldn’t keep himself from stopping by on the way out to tell the star of my football moment the whole story. But it’s times like those when I know, that no matter how red this state is and how frustrating it can sometimes be to try to explain myself and my views, it’s worth it. Because in the end, while it may be deep, dark red, Suburbia is where I belong.