Hana Shafi Suburbia: The Bane of My Existence

I like to think of Toronto as the city I live in, but the truth is, I live in the suburbs. Thanks to the ridiculously expensive cost of living in the city, I am forced to do the long commute. Yet, I still find myself feeling like I live in the city. I get there early in the morning and leave late at night. I basically go home just to sleep. Nonetheless, I dread my trips back home because of a passionate hatred for the suburbs.

The suburbs are supposed to be some kind of cross between city and country. Sounds nice right? The perfect mix of both would be the scenic nature and un-congested heaven of the country, but with the night life and vivid excitement of the city. What I get instead is the boring, holy-shit-there’s-nothing-to-do-here of a small town, but the shitty traffic and congestion of the city without any of the prettiness of a lit up skyline and less than half of the options of where to eat or party. Not to mention, the repetitive rows of houses get incredibly boring to walk past everyday.

Then some argue that the suburbs have less crime; fair enough, there does tend to be more crime in the city. And yet despite that, I usually feel safer walking around at night in most parts of the city than I do back in the suburbs. When I used to leave work at around 10 or 11 in the suburbs, I was always freaked out. The streets are almost always completely empty by that time; I had to walk the expanse of a mall parking lot that was completely dead, except for one lone car idling in some corner. Now that’s just freaky. My walks home from a friend’s house would be through completely silent neighborhoods in the dark, so the occasional lone late-night dog walker always freaked me out. 

In the city, I don’t feel as paranoid on my midnight walks. For one, I’m generally not in the sketchier side of town, and the popular areas are always lit up and still bustling with people. Whereas in suburbia I feel like a person could pop out of some tall shrubbery and just grab me without a single soul seeing anything (yes I know I’m paranoid), in the city there are tons of people everywhere! The constant commotion makes me feel safe, not to mention an overload of lights means that you’re never walking through a pitch black night. 

Okay so the suburbs are cleaner, there’s one. But I think I’d rather be among the pollution of the big city then be stuck in a boring suburban rut where venturing outside the house for a coffee means I’ll have to see at least a few people from high school. Sure, if you’re thinking of raising a family, I guess the suburbs might be a good option. But for now, I’d like to get the hell out. See ya in 30 years, suburbia. 


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