My girlfriend and I were having an
argumentdiscussion about this last night. Considering that the cost of housing in your area is relatively affordable, you have a choice in where to reside, and commuting isn't a factor, could you live in a neighborhood or region where few of your peers lived? A few examples:
* You're Jewish, and you live in a community that is almost entirely Catholic, on the side of town far from where most Jews in the region live.
* You're a young, educated professional, and you live in a very blue collar neighborhood where almost everybody works "at the plant".
* You're an educated professional, and you live in an "rugged" exurb where everybody and their brother runs a machine shop, works in the mechanical trades, drives a tow truck, and so on.
* You're single, and you live in a very family oriented neighborhood; your house is the only one on the block without a minivan in the driveway.
Discount the fact that your neighbors may be "good people". Could you live in a neighborhood where, basically, you're an outsider looking in?
I have to be honest: Way too often in my life, I was the odd man out, the outsider looking in, the last kid picked for the team. Given the choice, I really don't want to continue that in the place where I live. I don't want to live in a neighborhood or place where there is a demographic monoculture, and everybody seemed the same, but I would really feel uncomfortable, and a bit isolated, if I was "the Jewish guy" in a city, or the single guy at the end of a cul-de-sac that all the parents suspected was a child molester because "why else would he live here, instead of in the city?"
Old-time Cyburbians may remember my tales from when I lived in suburban Orlando. While most young professionals lived downtown or in areas to the north, east and south, I lived in Ocoee, a western suburb. Ocoee was predominantly middle to upper-middle-class, but it was very blue-collar; my neighbors included a roofer, prison guard, retired Marine Corps drill sergeant, motorcycle mechanic, painter, and so on. They were great neighbors, and they didn't think this guy without any pickup trucks in his driveway, who wore a button-down shirt to work, was some sort of oddball Yankee. Still, I did feel a bit uncomfortable and out-of-place. Head to any bar in Ocoee, and EVERYBODY had a Nextel phone strapped off their belt, with constant beeping followed by talk of jack-and-bore jobs, picking up the cherry picker at Sunbelt Rentals, and so on. The nearest bar where I could meet my peers was six miles away. No coffeeshops, no amenities catering to young professionals; they were all across town. I don't want to put down the good people I lived near, but I don't think I could live there again; I just felt so isolated and lonely.