I’ve asked a few different bloggers the question “How do you Not Dabble in Normal?” Over the course of the next few weeks I’m going to share their answers with you in the hopes that we’ll all learn something new and perhaps get a different perspective on normal and the folks who choose a slightly different path. This week’s answer & post comes from Joanna (her bio follows her article).
Fighting the Normality of the Suburbs
Unlike many of the other writers here, I live squarely in the suburbs of a city, in one of the most affluent counties in the country. My old farmhouse on an acre is surrounded by miles of subdivisions of new, identical houses, with perfectly manicured lawns and the occasional privacy fence. By moving to the house we did- the little over-100-year-old farmhouse on an acre instead of the typical “starter house” on a postage-stamp lot, I made a conscious choice to fight “Normal” in the suburbs.
A year and a half after moving to my non-typical suburban dwelling, I’ve forgotten what “normal” is. I’ve forgotten Normal people shop at Walmart without a second thought to the company’s employment practices or sources of cheap products. Normal people buy fruit in the dead of winter, in our The Office or LOST over coffee at work. Normal people care that their lawn is green and pruned perfectly, regardless of what chemicals it takes to make it that way. Normal people eat frozen dinners and .where strawberries won’t be growing for six months, and any mango available for purchase has more frequent flyer miles than I do. Normal people talk about the latest episode of
As for me? I shudder when I step into a vegetable garden that most Normal people would consider unsightly. I still have a box of Hamburger Helper sitting in my pantry, from my Normal days, that I don’t have the heart to cook. I hadn’t realized how spoiled I had gotten on fresh, local, and home-canned food until I bought some frozen veggies from the store in a pinch- and when I served it to guests and I gagged and apologized- they didn’t taste anything wrong.or get served a way-out-of-season tomato. I’m clueless as to pop culture because I don’t watch the TV at all- I’d get rid of it except for the fact we still watch the occasional movie. As for my “landscaping”- I plant something edible anywhere I can. I’ve got berries and herbs in my front yard, more herbs in the flower garden in back, and a big, practical
By fighting off Normality and choosing to live lightly, sustainably, responsibly, and justly, I’m able to opt out of the crazy game played here- a game of one-upping your neighbor with your next house, car, electronics, or vacation purchase. Because my house and lifestyle is so different than my neighbors, in their houses worth 5 to 6 times what mine is, I don’t feel a need to keep up with the proverbial Joneses. My footprint on the earth is smaller, and my life is simpler. Now, my Normal family and neighbors don’t think so- Why would you make your own laundry detergent or can your own food or buy beef from a farmer, when all of this is available at so much convenience at one of the five drugstores or two grocery stores within two miles of your house? (Yes, there are actually 3 CVSes, 2 Walgreens, & 2 Krogers within 2 miles of me.)