Sunday, June 03, 2007

Drivin' your life away?

It appears that the Washington Post has decided to do a series of features on the suburban lifestyle. This article from the Post Magazine features two families with long, long commutes. It is a common trade-off that many make: pick the place you want to live, but it is rarely the place you'll find a job. As a result, the article notes that more and more Americans are drive 60 minutes to work each way. The families featured here average 2-3 hours one way.

Obviously, people make choices about where they live and work. I live in the 'burbs, not my first or second choice, but I am also less than a mile from my campus and my husband is less than 2 miles away from the commuter train. Neither of us enjoys driving, so we traded a hip location over family dinners and coaching our kids' sports teams. Life isn't always pretty, but at least we have a life.

What the article also points out is that some of the long-distance commuters are choosing to commute so they can have larger homes and property, or live outside the metro area. Both are worthy goals, but what point is it to have a house if you never live in it?

Here in San Miguel, about 90% of the expats I've interviewed have told me one of their criteria in picking an ideal place to live is that they did not want to drive at all. Many here have sold their cars and walk and bus everywhere. If this article is any indication of what the driving life is like, it's easy to see how driving itself can become the bane of modern existence.


Anonymous said...

I suppose I tend to agree with where you seem to be heading in your blogs: "Just why couldn't they do in America what they claim is the reason for moving to SMA"? I don't get this and I wonder if I ever will. I too wonder why Mexico and why SMA specifically. I was so naive when we moved here in that this "Gringo Expat Community" thing took my wife and I completely by surprise. Whatever it is that the SMA or the Marfil Gringos are trying to do it never occurred to my wife nor I to do it. But, whatever it is, we still can't put our finger on it. It seems to me more of a trying to create or re-create something here in Mexico that was or is lacking in their lives back home. It seems to me that most of the American expat specifically seem to be looking over their shoulders to a life they had wanted in the States but never did. If I am right then why come to a foreign country and maybe irreparably alter the local Mexican culture in an attempt to recreate what they could not afford to have in America? I just don't know, but I don't think I buy the argument that there was something here they couldn't have in America. As you said, why not just change your surroundings in America?

Doug Bower

Deb said...

Thanks for your comments. You're response gets me thinking about how certain environments are believed to create specific types of communal behaviors. I appreciate your response. Deb