When we enter our early adulthood, we all tend to have this fear of turning in to our parents, imagining that they sprung forth from the earth as stodgy old has-beens, dried up and beat down by life, living the conformist suburban life with minivans and highballs at the BBQ on Saturday evening after the yard work is done.
We all go through it and some of us have our teen rebellions then, trying to be as non-conformist as possible (note emo kids do not count as they all look the same) and to shock our parents out of their mid-life malaise. Most of us grow out of it by the end of college and begin to live something like real life while trying to pay off student loans and get apartments and cars of our own and jobs. Those who don't tend not to be successful as the ones who slide into that insidious slide into suburbia. I've noticed, that among my friends in my graduating class, we all tend to be carbon copies of the lives we led as children, only now we're the parents watching our young adult children making that decision whether to find the comfort of what they grew up in or forge on into the unknown.
In 1982 the Canadian rock band, Rush (My All Time Fav Band, BTW) put out a song called Subdivisions which sums up this condition pretty well. It spoke of the need for the frenetic speed of the city that we crave as youth. And the nostalgic longing for the days of suburbia we dream of as adults and the longing to return to that comfort.
I know as a teen I raged about the conformity of our middle class suburb, and left as soon as I was able, however, I never strayed far from it. I realized, early on, the symbol of the upper middle-class neighborhood. It represented the wealth and success of a free market economy. The Free Market supports the middle class. Call it bourgeois, call it what you will, but it is strength, it is comfort. Wipe out the middle class and you have taken the legs out from under a capitalist society, as the Soviets and Chinese discovered to their chagrin. Russia capitulated and China is still trying to eat its cake and have it, too. I'm patient.
I am solidly middle-class with no intention or ambition to rise higher, because I have found my comfort zone. any higher up on the food chain and I would not be able to dress as I like and have days where I scrape my hair back instead of brushing it into something that doesn't scare children. From where I am I can see a whole lot. I am educated, and I haven't stopped educating myself. I am the most fortunate of people to have a family I can stand and friends I adore and cherish. And because of where I am, I am aware of an us and a them, but I realize we have much in common except the ability to see what's really out there instead of what I want to be out there. I still invite them to cocktail parties.
Sometimes I get the feeling that we are on the bleeding edge of some sort of class war here in America, and I know that if that happens the middle-class will be the loser. There are so many of us in the middle-class, but most of us are the go-along to get-along types that we just let whatever happen, and mourn our losses instead of standing up for ourselves.
The Tea Party has woken up many of us out here in Stepford. We may be conformists, but we wouldn't all be caught dead in red from head to toe. We know where our bread is buttered. Many of the people I've ridiculed in the past for being helicopter parents and PTA cyborgs, are waking up and realizing there is a very real world outside their manically manicured lawns.
I may actually start speaking to some of them when I see them at the shops.