I grew up in a suburb. Sub-: substitute, subservient, suboptimal, subordinate, substandard. Suburb: aesthetically, morally, culturally beneath the urb. Suburb: lesser than, not quite, almost, near but far. Suburb: the middle sibling of American municipalities, the generic neighborhood, where sidewalks and landscaped parks abound, where street widths reflect the dimensions of the average minivan, where children wander through barometrically-controlled environments, ogling the mass-produced outfits from The Limited and The Gap, concocting fantasies about their future, properly-attired selves, when they will no longer dwell in such a substandard place, but will graduate to the real life, the unsubordinate life: the life of the city, the life of the urb.
March 23, 2011 Dispatches