Oak Park, #4. The…

Oak Park, #4.

The air is turning crisp, and the last of the outdoor tables linger. Cold mornings, but it is still warm enough at midday, warm enough to share a cup of coffee with a friend. This one sits at a busy corner, reflecting tracks for the train that rushes by. I tell my city friends -- Oak Park is on the subway. Two subways! So it's not really a suburb, right? Just fifteen minutes from downtown; that's closer that most of the city itself! But my claim rings hollow even to myself, and my friends are not convinced. Since moving here, it has become almost impossible to coax them out to visit.

I am slowly resigning myself to the loss of most city friends. I will see them occasionally, when I am willing to come in. They will come out for special occasions, perhaps. But the easy monthly potluck brunch days are gone. Or rather, potlucks will be for new friends, suburban friends. The kind who will meet me for coffee, perhaps after leaving work a little early. The ones who do not mind the train rushing by, who have learned to love this suburb that is still half-city.

A hybrid place, perhaps perfect for someone who has always been hybrid herself. Never one thing or the other, always with feet straddling deeply divided worlds. Maybe it is for the best. Maybe, in a divided place, I can grow something whole and entire.

***

Marion Street Cafe, Marion and South Boulevard, 10/7/10

10 thoughts on “Oak Park, #4. The…”

  1. I completely sympathize, having moved from an exurban area 22 miles away from The City to one 38 miles away from The City — and seen visits from folks not in my new neighborhood plummet (sigh).

    Your local friends don’t have nearly as much excuse when you’re on the subway, though!

  2. Mary Anne, We are going through city-withdrawal ourselves in our new suburban abode. It is not fun, but we keep telling ourselves that long-term, it’s better for the kids!

  3. This one really speaks to me. We live on the edge of the “Inner West” in Sydney. It has its own tribal identity, separate from the inner city of Sydney. It’s possibly one of the few identities I claim for myself. We’re seriously considering a move to well outside the city, to a small town setting within a (infrequent) commutable distance. There are a lot of advantages in living with space – growing some of our food, letting the kids run free range, other ideals in terms of ethics and lifestyle, but it means giving up being an Inner Westie. I go from absolute certainty that I want to move, to absolute certainty that I don’t.

  4. I have to admit, I’m mostly glad that we’re hopefully done moving. I’ve left too many friends behind over the years.

    Huzefa, where did you folks end up? Not Oak Park, I’m guessing. Pfui.

  5. Ah — we considered Naperville briefly, but we are wimpy about our commute.

    Are you there for good, do you think?

  6. Not sure, to be honest. Haven’t yet decided on how much we like it to live there permanently. Its not that bad, really, but the south loop was way better!

  7. You have to come visit us in Oak Park, then. It is very seductive — half-city, half-suburb. Great schools, beautiful homes, walkable and fun downtown, easy commute…

  8. We were considering Oak Park for a bit. Unfortunately, Fatema’s hospital limits how far she can live from the hospital, and Oak Park was a bit outside that area. We would love to visit you folks sometime. I think Zoya and Kavi might appreciate the play date!

  9. Ah — nuisance about the geographic limitation! (Although probably she wouldn’t want a long commute either…)

    Would love to see you all. Things are still crazy here with the renovation, but we’ll probably do some kind of holiday party in November or early December.

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