The se­cret life of us

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - Society - By Bernard salT

Iam think­ing of start­ing a se­cret so­ci­ety that unites the repro­bates and the de­plorables who unashamedly revel in the sim­plic­ity of their ut­terly and un­re­pen­tantly sub­ur­ban lives. Not for mem­bers of this se­cret so­ci­ety the oh-so-fash­ion­able in­ner-city with its cafes and restau­rants and high-rise apart­ments de­liv­er­ing un­par­al­leled ur­ban views.

Do you live in a sep­a­rate house on a sep­a­rate block of land that con­tains a gar­den and off-street park­ing? Do you com­mute to work by car? Did you scrimp and save and make sac­ri­fices to buy and im­prove your house and block of land? Do you live in a house­hold com­prised of what might be de­scribed as mum, dad and the kids?

You do? Well, you might like to join my se­cret so­ci­ety for the cel­e­bra­tion of sub­ur­ban life. We meet monthly in dis­carded ro­tun­das where we dis­cuss sausage siz­zles, kids’ sport­ing events and se­cret park­ing spots at bulk goods out­lets. We chat ex­cit­edly about our un­nat­u­ral love of su­per­mar­kets – es­pe­cially a deli sec­tion with a well-man­aged tick­et­ing sys­tem – and of new arterial roads where the traf­fic moves smoothly and ef­fi­ciently. These are just some of the sim­ple sub­ur­ban plea­sures that in­nercity folk will never know for they, poor souls, are un­able to breathe in what they claim is the thin, fetid, cul­tur­ally bar­ren air of subur­bia.

At my se­cret so­ci­ety meet­ings, some­one stands up and tells the group what they like most about liv­ing in subur­bia. I once spoke for 30 min­utes to an en­thralled au­di­ence about the cul­tural in­clu­sive­ness of rollover kerb­ing in cul-de-sacs. Tra­di­tional kerb­ing is di­vi­sive, I ar­gued. It forces cars to re­main on the road­way whereas rollover kerb­ing en­cour­ages the shar­ing of road and na­ture strip space. I ad­mit that mem­bers were puz­zled at first but they came around to my way of think­ing and we passed a mo­tion en­dors­ing rollover kerb­ing. So pleased were we with our­selves that we im­me­di­ately set up a sub­com­mit­tee to look for fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove sub­ur­ban in­clu­sive­ness.

I am be­gin­ning to think I should have

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