Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why Isn't Anyone Outside?

Alright here’s another topic of me still trying to adjust to suburban life, y’all know I’m proudly from the far south side of Chicago, it’s an urban environment but it was where I grew up and things are different there, so there are several things that I can’t understand now that I live in Will County in the suburbs.
This week is: Why isn’t there anyone outside?
Now that the weather is warmer and I live in a nice, safe, suburban sub division but I rarely see people outside and the few I do are old people (probably originally from the city like me), I can’t get my head around this.
I see a couple of guys in their garage, working on a car, fiddling around with tools, they have the radio on, but maybe one guy per block, back in my old ‘hood that was everyone’s old man and usually a few guys in there with him. Hell, we had old man Rick who would sit in his garage alone playing solitaire on a card table while sitting on a metal folding chair, if you drove or walked by, you’d stop and talk to him for a while and then he’d go back to his card game.
And I rarely see kids out, man for me (and my wife), our parents would put us out the house. I grew up across the street from a cul-de-sac (affectionately called the Circle), and it was maybe a car an hour would drive through there so it was perfect for games, baseball, football, basketball (we put a hoop on the turn around sign), street hockey, skateboarding, you name it, we played it and sometimes we just make stuff up cause our parents weren’t letting us back in the house.
But it wasn’t just kids out, our dads were in the yard or garage, our moms would be on the porch talking or reading a book, people were walking down the streets (we actually had sidewalks on both sides of the streets unlike the suburbs), and they were friendly and would stop and talk.
I don’t mean to make it sound like Sesame Street or Mayberry, but on days when it was warmer than 45 and definitely once spring came around like now after a tough winter, man everybody was out.
Once I got older, you’d either ride your bike to maybe Blue Island on summer days just hang out in someone’s back yard or once we hit high school age we’d work on a car or clean a car and watch the girls walk past, the smaller kids took over the circle and would play there, still the older folks were out talking or whatever, someone had BBQ cooking and this could be a week night.
My wife & I take an after dinner walk several times a week and throughout the whole subdivision and we see a handful of people, otherwise, don’t see nobody, but you see a huge TV on inside, a flat screen big enough you can see across the street.
Is that what this is, people sitting watching TV, online or playing video games? Hell when I had a working laptop, even in the city, I’d take an extension cord and headphones and go outside or charge the battery and go to the park. When I was in a beach volleyball league at North Ave beach ten years ago I’d go early and take the laptop (but watch the fine women walking past too), or have a walkman or now with iPods listen to some music.
Hell I take part of my lunch outside at work now and walk around the parking lot and then stay out for a minute looking at the internet on my phone. I guess  my parents just programmed me to go outside when the weather is halfway decent.
But maybe I’m different (or just an old city guy), I am an Eagle Scout so I’ve camped, hunted and still love to fish. Anything outside I’m good for and don’t get me starting on grilling and that’s something else I don’t see, people have Food Network TV worthy grills but you don’t smell food cooking. I have a several grills and BBQ pits and several times a week (even on work nights), I’m out there roasting some meat.
I just don’t get it but life is more than sitting inside starting at some TV or computer screen.

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