A day in suburbia …

By Sue Trollip

The other night I drove to the city. Nostalgia hit as those lights came into view. Action, excitement, people. I sighed, did my shopping and went home to the pitch dark of suburbia.

Yesterday I worked a long long shift in three different departments.

I started with coffee and before I’d finished my first cup I’d been offered a house dog sitting job, then it was down to business in front of the computer. I’ve had several dog sitting jobs since I’ve been here and only one family had met me before. The rest were because of people we both knew. When the mum of a Chihuahua I’d babysat one weekend told her friend I’d look after their Labrador I sent a text saying ‘Would you like to meet me before you go so you can see if you like the look of me.’ And she replied with a smiley face saying ‘I do like the look of you because the Chihuahua’s mum likes the look of you.’ And that I guess is the story of life in a small town.

Then I moved on to what I like to call my ‘smile and wave’ job. When I first started working there it was as though I was a ghost, nobody looked at me unless they had a problem. Now I’ve become a fixture, a harmless gargoyle who talks. There are regulars who eat at the café there. There’s the man with the bushy grey beard who rides his bicycle everywhere and usually pauses to tell me a little about his day. There’s the dude who likes to discuss the weather with me. The older man with the crick in his spine who smiles and says hello but nothing else and the short man who’s always in a hurry but never fails to ask how I’m doing as he dashes past. And Mr and Mrs Tall and Skinny who sometimes greet me and at other times are lost in conversation and continue past as though I’m not there.

Finally I moved into the ER and … well that’s all I can tell you because what happens in the ER stays in the ER.

Just before midnight, I drove home beneath a huge yellow moon. Suburbia is not the city by any stretch, but the movies are only 30 minutes away and somehow there’s something comforting about living in a place where I get to smile and wave even when I’m not at work.

Chihuahua courtesy of Paul Gooddy at freedigitalphotos.net

Chihuahua courtesy of Paul Gooddy at freedigitalphotos.net

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7 thoughts on “A day in suburbia …

  1. jacky says:

    Nice one Sue. I can handle a hairy chihuahua, the bald ones send me into orbit! So pleased you’re getting smiles and waves, makes a big difference when starting out in a new place. I hope that the same waves and smiles never mutate into what I’ve had happen while shopping – big energetic wave, trolley rush and then ‘SOOOOO glad I’ve met you like this; my sandwich wasn’t as good as usual at Friday tea. Not complaining. Just so you know…’ Dear me, I can see our new book coffers dwindling rapidly unless we up our quality control, which means I or We will have to sample a wide variety of what’s on offer on Fridays, and that will be such a gastronomic pleasure. Starting tomorrow. Can’t wait.

    • The thing I’ve learned about dogs, and cats, is that they grow on you. you sort of move in thinking, mmmh stay back and hours later you can’t believe how sweet they are. It’s odd.
      I do hope the tasting day went well!

  2. Simon says:

    Anyone who loves animals, so I say have to have a good heart. Love to read about the realities of life in suburbia. Esspecially the folk in and around Joburg. We certainly have an eclectic mix in Joburg don’t we? Have not met many similar minds with a passion for writing though….

  3. Susan says:

    The weird thing I’ve noticed about suburbia in Australia (and it seems like that in your part of the world too, Sue), is that it’s so dark at night. It’s rather comforting that no one feels the need to have security lights shining out across the driveway and the cars, or lighting up the area outside the front door. Glad you’re enjoying the smiling and waving. And the dog-sitting. Of course you’ve whet our appetites for what actually happens in the ER now…

    • Yes I agree 100% about the lights, and the dogs are all there for pleasure, not a decent watchdog in the neighbourhood.
      The ER is the source of much inspiration … if only I was Stephen King!

      • jac dowling says:

        Oh dear, as bad as that is it – Stephen King country?! the Big Taste will happen today, perhaps I’ll borrow a couple of the neighbours’ yappers to deal with any leftovers!

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