Just when you've snuggled up nice and close to it though, supremely confident that your assured embrace will continue endorsing your peace of mind, Philly will paw swipe at you unexpectedly like a feral cat buried in a pile of goose down pillows. Whether it's an afternoon shooting in front of your favorite bar, an early morning serial strangler who strikes from behind, or a teenage flash mob flooding a commercial street with fists-a-flying, the City of Brotherly Love will routinely remind you she loathes living up to that name.
This week I'm dog-sitting in the burbs. Which basically means I'm house sitting. It will be my first foray into the idyllic, magical world of driveways, backyards and smiling neighbors who offer to mow your lawn in exchange for some freshly squeezed lemonade. Perhaps I'll stroll down picturesque, crime-free Main Street, USA in the afternoon to pick up some freshly chopped firewood at Uncle Herb's General Store. Maybe top off the evening with a soft serve ice cream cone while watching the 4th of July puppy pageant whimsically unwind in the church parking lot.
I realize those things will probably never happen, but since I live my life almost entirely inside my own imagination, it really makes no difference either way. I will however attempt to fully assimilate into suburbanite culture and conduct while I'm living at the house. How much this frustrates my wife will largely depend on her patience reserves. She's just as excited about the fresh clean air, wide open space and reasonable expectation of personal safety, so I should be okay. This week I plan to be:
- Working on a fictional construction project in the garage/driveway, with several power tools I have never seen or used before. I'll be wearing a headlamp and protective eyewear and will wave genteelly to neighbors and kids as they pass by.
- Grilling every morsel of food I can find on the majestic, stainless steel BBQ while listening to Kenny Rogers and hurling tennis balls deep into the woods for the dog to retrieve. (Obviously while sporting a festive, farcical apron and loudly closing deals with hypothetical foreign investors on a Bluetooth headset.)
- Lounging on a front porch Adirondack, sipping a shandy and audibly condemning the late-night reckless carousing of the neighbor's teenage daughters.
That of course is just a sampling. I'm sure many more activities I've been dying to try will get checked off the list this week. Cabbing it to the local tavern; flirting with the elderly crossing guard on my way to the post office; perusing a giant unfurled newspaper on the train to work; quietly stewing alone in a pot of rancid discontent, battling back waves of depression with the dull hatchet of denial. The suburban dream - it's finally mine!
Wish me luck.
Wish me luck.