Our Time at the Edge18

Posted by Deirdre // 03-23-2012


A guest post by Jason Savage, copywriter and proud Gen-Xer.

“…this isn’t real. You know what it is? It’s St. Elmo’s Fire. Electric flashes of light that appear in dark skies out of nowhere. Sailors would guide entire journeys by it, but the joke was on them… there was no fire. There wasn’t even a St. Elmo. They made it up. They made it up because they thought they needed it to keep them going when times got tough, just like you’re making up all of this. We’re all going through this. It’s our time at the edge”.
– Rob Lowe as Billy, “St Elmo’s Fire”

Brat Packer extraordinaire via fanpop

This blog has been missing the Brat Pack perspective.

Or, it hasn’t.

But I do think this quote is spot-on for how I feel lately. And not even in an ironic, I-love-the-80s, way (I do miss the wonderfully cheesy 80s films, by the way, but when it comes to music the 70s win in a walk). What it does is remind me that there is no utopia for all of us betwixt and betweeners. People have asked on this blog and in other forums I frequent: where is a place with great housing, reasonable prices, decent levels of diversity, great schools, nice restaurants and, naturally, reasonable prices? And it’s a reasonable question. In fact, to not ask the question – to not desire perfection in the place you lay your head every evening and entrust to the guidance of your child on many a weekday – is to show indifference at best and a very faint pulse at worse. My wife and I have been consumed by it for lo these almost 8 years we’ve been together. And it has taken us (in our head, in sepia-toned future images of ourselves) to Prospect Lefferts, Ditmas Park, Forest Hills, Rhinebeck, Hudson, Pelham, Larchmont, Hastings, Cos Cob, Maplewood, South Orange, Austin, Providence, San Fran, Los Angeles, Seattle and North Carolina.

And every time we cut and pasted ourselves into a new location, we came to the same conclusion: yes!…..but.

But what about the job market? But the weather is kind of. But the taxes. But the schools. But their Trader Joes per-capita ratio is on the low side.

But I think we’re all chasing our tails. There is no place free of “cons”. There are places where you’ll be happy and places you simply won’t. And the best places – like the best people – aren’t perfect. There is no “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”

So now, with daughters aged 2.5 and 4.5, and two jobs that we’re fond of (or at the very least, fond of the paychecks – again, nothing is perfect!), we look at the buts as a fact of life.

We’re both now over the threshold of 40, and we kind of think we’re going to move to Maplewood/South Orange.

But….but…..but. Yeah, we’ve asked the same questions. It’s just that the retorts are so much more persuasive these days. But a backyard. But a driveway. But a playroom (oh, playroom…just writing that word makes me all aflutter). But placing the kids in one school system and worrying not about middle school, not about high school, but about college, like any normal stressed out adult, not the comically stressed versions we fear becoming if we stay.

It won’t be paradise. Because, depending on your belief system or your access to a private Caribbean island, paradise isn’t out there.

But that’s just me.

You can look forward to Jason’s posts on a more regular basis, as he and his family grapple with the Bklyn or Beyond conundrum. Will it be Maplewood next week? Stay tuned to find out!


4 Responses

  1. May 8th, 2013 at 11:01 am

    […] lowe forum [Thanks to Jason Savage, this lead someone to this […]

  2. lauren kamin says:
    March 30th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    As your neighbor I would hate to see you guys leave..but we may be right behind you.
    It’s the conversation everyone wants to have around here, leaving a sort of transient film over everything. I have had 6 or 7 friends move out of Brooklyn since September of last year. That seems like a lot. I hate that everyone has a foot out the door, us included. Maybe.

  3. mark slade says:
    March 23rd, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I moved to Maplewood in 97 and there has been no looking back!

  4. FreeRangePamela says:
    March 23rd, 2012 at 11:28 am

    So true. I’ve often thought that my exposure to life in a variety of different places (NYC area, SF Bay Area) makes it more difficult to settle on a single place — every one lacks something that another place has. We’ve ended up moving to the Austin area and, while there are things that annoy me about life here, I knew what I was getting into and I’m OK with it. The pros are wonderful, and I try to focus on those.