4 Reasons Suburban Life Is Tougher than You Think

I thought Third World life was hard, but living in the American suburbs might very well give me a run for my money. Yes, yes, I already know what you’re thinking. How can someone from the Third World find cause for complaint in the cushy life of Suburbia? In fact, how can anyone find cause for complaint?

Well, let me tell you: suburban life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Here are just a few of the countless reasons it’s hard out here in the ‘burbs.

1. Bye-Bye Cool Points

When you meet people for the first time in Atlanta, being asked “OTP or ITP?” is not uncommon. Those who live ITP are inside Interstate 285, which circles the city. Those who live OTP, are outside the city limits.

What difference does it make? Those who live in the city enjoy a social boost that us ‘burb-brats can never lay claim to. It doesn’t matter if you own a two-storey house in the suburbs, and they rent a 200-square-foot apartment in a dump, you fall to the bottom of the social totem pole.

I’m sure this is true of other cities, as well.

2. Slow Internet Speeds

Fortunately, we live in the golden age where social lives can take place online, ha! Thus, we may not have the glamorous life of walking out of an apartment door and into a city bar, but we can be famous on the internet! Or can we? 🤔

When I lived inside the city limits, the internet was amazingly fast! It wasn’t nearly as fast as the fibre optics I had in Jamaica, but it was close enough.

The very second we moved to the suburbs, my internet speed dropped to about a quarter of what it was. I cannot tell you how much time I’ve spent on the phone with Comcast in the past few years.

The problem? Apparently, people in the city cannot afford and/or do not spend as much time on the internet. But suburban folks have way too much time and money to kill. So there goes my bandwidth!

3. Driving Everywhere

The cool thing about living in cities like New York and London is that you don’t need a car. It is often easier, cheaper, and faster to get from point A to B via subways and trains.

Well, when you live in suburbs, exactly where do you plan to find these trains and subways? Not to mention, there is no corner store right up the street when you need to grab some milk, or a candy bar.

You must drive everywhere, which means owning a car and all the costs and responsibilities that come along with it. And if you work in the city? Well, you better have excellent ways to amuse yourself for the long drive into town.

4. The Back-Breaking Yard-work

What do city people know about lawns? Aside from the lucky few with vertical gardens, not much. If there is a lawn, it is usually handled by the property manager or landlord. And if they have to cut their own lawn, let’s be real, what do they have? Like, 1 square foot of lawn space?

Suburban folks, on the other hand, are out there cutting lawns that seem to go on without end. We might as well plant those mystical Georgia peaches everyone has heard of but never seen, and start a farm! Or worse, pay someone else to cut the lawn every week. And, there goes our travel fund.

Are you the unfortunate resident of Suburbia? Please share your First World Pains with me in the comments. We can get through this if we stick together. City people, do not comment. You are not welcome, here. Go home.

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34 thoughts on “4 Reasons Suburban Life Is Tougher than You Think

  1. I’ve actually always been a ‘burbs brat. Renting a tiny apartment for more than a mortgage in the city appeals to me. HOWEVER, commuting sucks. And more importantly, of you rent and your dishwasher breaks, it’s the landlord’s problem, not yours. And HOA’s are something I had to deal with back during my condo days. I hate EVERYTHING about them. “Oh, you want curtains to cover your five million mile sliding glass door? Fine. Here are the three acceptable colors.” Who are you exactly? You want HOW MUCH MONEY a month to declare that my front door has special hinges, a specific door knob, and is painted a specific color to accommodate your color scheme? I hate ALL of those colors! And what’s worse, it’s MY responsibility to chip off some of the paint and take it with me for a color match so that it’s just the right shade of gross green. But at least the shoveled snow and cut the grass. Now in my house, my curtains can be the color I want (as can everything else), but I have to shovel, I have to maintain the lawn. It’s exhausting.

    1. I can just imagine how much worse HOAs make things. My parents have considered starting one for the neighbourhood, but later decided it was a terrible idea. When we need a new sign or something else that affects the entire neighbourhood, then we meet up and get it done. We also have an online community to report missing pets, inform people of events, or advertise home improvement services etc. But that’s as close as we get to any kind of HOA, and we love the freedom we retain without it!

      However, like you said, commute really does suck sometimes. I work (or not, lol) from home 5 days a week, and then 2 days in the city. Since it’s only 2 days, I’m not too worried about commute, but it gets to me when I want to go out in the week and do something fun.

      Are you still in the suburbs?

      1. Yes. 30+ mins from work. The cities are nice to visit, but gimme green grass and water I can drink without a Brita 😉

      2. Haha, I STILL won’t drink my water without a Brita! I got a skin condition from water in the city of Kingston, Jamaica during a drought. Doctor suggested Brita, and I have never gone back! But point taken 🙂

    2. Even if you have no HOA, people beside you are looking at your yard. I have roses and hardly any grass, if my grass gets a little tall or the roses grow out of shape I can always count on a neighbor coming by and offering me a phone number to their “landscape person” or offering to have her teenage son cut our grass, or they mention how trees are so hard to keep neat. I feel angry about it right now, because I was sitting here sick with a virus, doing some planning with ground covers and thinking about how when I feel better I’ll plant ground cover and trim my roses, and sure enough ding dong and it’s them, “we just thought you could use a hand” let us give you our new landscaper’s phone number”. When I finally closed the door I felt like throwing something. I want to live in the country because I really don’t care what they think about my yard, I’m extremely annoyed right now.

      1. We have a similar experience and we actually enjoy it. When our neighbour cuts his yard, he cuts ours too. Sometimes he only cuts the front, because that’s more obvious. The back he may leave us to cut at our leisure. He doesn’t even speak English. The most we ever got out of him was, “I cut my yard; I cut your yard!” with a big smile.

        We also routinely have people pass through the neighbourhood and give an estimate to cut the yard. That’s usually how we pick our landscapers, as obviously we don’t abuse our neighbour’s good will. We have even cut HIS yard before as a show of thanks. We have never been in each other’s house or shared a dinner or a conversation longer than 2 minutes, so I find this routine exchange of yard cutting between us very neighbourly in a good way!

        Tall grass is a hazard. It’s a great hiding spot for snakes, which we found the last time our yard grew too tall. The guy was so concerned, he knocked on our door to ask if we had small children and warned us against opening the door. We were grateful for the warning and I now know to think twice about opening my door, which opens out to the backyard and a stream (great place for snakes!) when the grass is too tall. Rodents and other pests also love tall grass, which further attracts snakes.

        Unkempt yards also negatively affect the appearance and value of neighbouring homes. This is important for people who may be entertaining guests or considering the resale of their home.

        I think as annoying as it may be, when we live in a community, it’s important to think of the desires of the group and not just the individual. That’s one of the things I love most about living where I currently do, and that’s one of the great things about living around so many fellow immigrants. Standard American culture is too individualistic for me. Immigrants tend to embrace stronger community values.

        Good luck with your neighbours and feel better soon!

  2. I watch a lot of American TV and I’ve often asked myself ‘Where are all the corner shops and the takeaways!?’ I couldn’t survive! In England we tend to go into ‘town’ which is the middle of the city, then the burbs have their own little town centres and only then if you go further out do you get suburbs we call ‘a bit countrysidey’. I know leaf blowers must help with yard (garden/lawn) work but they are so dam noisy and why do people insist on using them at 8.00am 🤯 Love your culture clash posts! 😁

    1. The corner stores in our suburbs are about 3 miles away, so it’s not too bad. And there are gas stations within a mile or less of the house for quick pick me ups. But nothing compared to living in the city!

      We hire out the yard work! 😂 But last week we came home to find that our neighbours had cut our yard. That was so nice of them! They just moved in late last year.

      1. Hi Alexis, I’ve nominated you for the Mystery Blogger award ‘Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.’ as I think you totally deserve it!

      2. Thank you, Chrissie! I’m glad you find my blog worthy!

  3. LOL!!! OTP WEST D-Ville in the house. Yes, I’m over here with Tyler and Google and that’s probably the only reason why my internet speed is mah-veh-los. OK when I open my wifi there are about 400 accounts listed 😀

    Seriously, though, you nailed suburbia-life.

  4. When I first moved to the suburbs, I still made sure I was in walking distance to a train to commute to my job in New York. I had moved from a Jersey City where there was always a lot of people around and everything was lit up. Then the first time I got off the train in the suburbs coming home from work, I walked a little ways away from the station and everything was pitch black. So my first thought was “Wow. It’s really dangerous living in the suburbs.”

  5. Well, since we are technically suburban, I guess I can comment. But really we aren’t. I opted for sidewalks, bus service, corner store, neighbors and city sewer and water when we looked for the house we now own. We are surrounded by real suburbs where people get in their cars for everything, run in the street since there are no sidewalks, and have wells and septic tanks. But they don’t have a variety of skin color as we do. I guess that makes them put up with the burbs!!!

    1. Hahahaha, well I wasn’t serious about banning others from commenting, so I won’t get you for trespassing 😂

      We wanted all those things too, but it’s not like what we had in the city. Bus stop is a 10 minute walk away, but it’s one bus an hour! Corner store is part of the gas station and that’s by the bus stop. Stores and such are within a few miles though, but still! Not right up the street!

      1. No it isn’t like a big city here, but we can walk to everywhere. I was thinking ahead to not being able to drive one day and hated the thought of being marooned.

  6. I grew up in the suburbs of San Jose, which IMHO are the most quintessential of all the suburbs across America (but I’m biased). The lack of nearby corner stores, a dearth of mass transit, and yards that need constant care were all hallmarks of growing up in Santa Clara Valley.
    The problem with suburbs is that they aren’t built for people, they’re built for cars.

    1. That last line is so true! The suburbs is great for the car industry. Unfortunately, I’ve outsmarted them. I don’t own a car, and I mostly work from home. Boo-hoo! 😂

      If I need the car that’s what husbands and fathers are for! They both have one! But mostly I just Uber around. My Uber budget for the month is less than gas + maintenance + insurance + car note, and I will remain carless for as long as that stays true! 😂

      1. Thank you! I do love my home state, plus I’m now living in a city where I can get around by bicycle or mass transit. But damn it’s expensive here! :-O

      2. That’s why it’s not my home state yet, haha. Too expensive. Cost of living in Atlanta and the outskirts is pretty cheap in comparison. I meet a lot of people from Cali, who says that’s why they left. Too expensive!

        Awesome on the bike commute!

      3. I’ve heard good things about Atlanta. Never been, but I’d like to visit someday. More people are now leaving Cali than moving in.
        The biking keeps me in shape. 🙂

  7. Alexis, you basically nailed it. I live OTP for decades before I left the ATL. The scars from it still traumatize me today in my very rural life where every single one of these problems is multiplied in a way that rivals the exponential difference between a 5 on the Richter scale and a 6.
    Suburbia is my idea of what hell must be like: endless streets (named after the tress that were murdered to make way for the street) of cookie cutter houses with slow internet and cookie cutter lawns that the HOA regulates and cookie cutter cars.
    Either put me ITP or the middle of nowhere, because the in-between is not my cup of tea.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who observes these things, especially in Atlanta! Thankfully, my suburbs is on the outskirts of the city and we don’t have an HOA, so I know there are others so much worse off on than myself.

      I am sorry to hear rural life is even worse. You forgot to name streets named after dead men no one remembers! 😂

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