12 Suburban Pet-Peeves

Living in suburbia forever is like being married forever, certain qualities you may have originally found endearing are now just annoying, obnoxious or at the extreme can be grounds for murder.

If you are reading this and you are from Greenwich, Bedford, Palo Alto or Alpine, you may not recognize, in your neighborhood, any of these pet peeves listed below at all.  In my suburbia – not poor – not rich – just middle class with a lot of recent NYC transplants out to the sticks, we have many, hmmm, how should I word this… ‘Aesthetic infractions’ that could easily upset one’s eye or stomach.

#12 Weird Fencing

Two Fences
#12a Two neighbors not communicating

I’ve never been a big fan of stockade fencing, especially the cheap wood ones.  I’ve warmed up a bit to the big plastic stockade fence.

In photo #12a: I’m not sure what happened here.  Either the neighbors were fighting over their property lines or somehow they both had their new fences installed on the same day without mentioning it to each other.  There is about 16 inches between the fences.  I’ve witnessed  one of the fence owners squeezing between the two fences to rake out the tall overgrowth, weeds, leaves and such.  Very weird.



#11 Ugly Electric Poles – Ugly Trimming of Trees Around the Ugly Electric Poles

See my previous post: Click Here

#10 Vote to Renovate your School

Rundown High School
#9a This must've looked nice in 1970

Do you want to live in a town where the high school looks like shit?  If there is some kind of referendum coming up to cash some bonds or something to renovate your schools, vote: Yes.





#9 Suburban Blight

Suburban Blight
Another empty storefront in my town!

What the hell is it with these big stores moving into my town and then going out of business within a year leaving their big-ass, empty, ugly storefronts to linger as huge canvases for bad graffiti artists to desecrate?

If you see photo #9a, this is an abandoned supermarket.  A&P built this with my townships blessing literally 200 yards from our well established Shoprite.  It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the A&P would be out of there in a year or two.




#8 Politico Banners

Politico Banners and Signs
#8a Hey, I don't need to know your politics!

Don’t wear your politics on your sleeve and certainly don’t put banners with your John Birch, or for that matter Al Gore, all over your house.  It’s just tacky.





#7 Arborvitae Killers

Arborvitae Killer
#7a This was a 'living' fence. Every Spring a couple more die.

We all know the arborvitae killer, the guy who wants to create a natural fence around his yard.  These guys usually get the bright idea to do this planting around May or June.  (Arborvitae is the knee-jerk go-to shrub when planting.  Arborvitae is really the poor man’s boxwood, just go to Deal NJ or Bedford and you’ll see what I mean).

Arborvitae Killer 2
#7b This is an example of a pretty good one.

Even if arborvitaes are relatively inexpensive, you still have to buy enough of them to create a visual blind circumnavigating the perimeter of your property and depending on how large your lot is, can become expensive.  So in May or early June inevitably we will drive by one of our neighbor’s homes and notice hundreds of newly planted arborvitae fencing in their yard.  What your lovely neighbor doesn’t realize is that it’s a good idea to water your arborvitae or they’ll die, newly planted arborvitae die real quick.  June is usually a hot month and what can be predicted is that before the July 4thweekend probably about half of these beautiful plants are as brown as the Gobi desert.  The unfortunate thing that happens is that not all of the plants die, a percentage of them can survive through a hot summer, so as each plant dies the beautiful fence will eventually look like the teeth of a hillbilly. (Replanting is an option, but will be seen as cost prohibitive to someone who just spent $3000 on the original plants).

#6 Skinny Columns

Skinny Columns1
#6a Columns Way Too Skinny
Skinny Columns 2
#6b Nice house. Get nicer columns!

After you just spent $30k to $50k renovating your home, spend a couple hundred extra and get some meatier columns for your front porch or façade.









#5 Weird, Tacky, Bad Architecture

Smurf House
#5a Did Papa Smurf design this?
Double Gable House
#5b Example of a double Gable Roof

These come in all shapes and sizes.  Terrible architecture usually occurs when someone renovates their home without using an architect: screwing up proportions, removing nice detail, bad wrapping of aluminum around detail, making a nice porch terrible, weird kitchens or an extra bedroom sticking of the side of the house like a goiter or malignant growth, etc.

Bad architects can create all sorts of visual nightmares too.  The knee-jerk, uninspired architectural element is the double gable.  Check out the facades of newer McMansions with the double gable element.

If you see photo #5a, this is an example of atrocious, tacky design.  The architect must’ve been going for that King Arthur /post modern/Big Ben, who knows, but I personally think that theserealtors hired Papa Smurf to design it.

#4 Bail Bonds – Check Cashing

#4 Hey Creeps, get out of my town!

As soon as you see a Bail Bonds – Check Cashing storefront open in your town, you can just see your property values diminish as every scoundrel or scoundrel’s spouse or relative walks through those doors.  Or for that matter, anyone, for whatever reason, who doesn’t have a bank account walking around your town looking for a check cashing place.




#3 Poodle Trees

Poodle Trees 1
#3a Enough Said

Thank god that the trend for poodle trees (topiary) is passing.  And some topiary can be beautiful if well maintained and trimmed by a professional.  Bad maintenance of a poodle tree and it looks like someone took a huge, green shit on your front lawn.

Poodle Trees 2
#3b Nice!






#2 Anti Abortion Protesters – Abortion Clinics

Abortion Guy
#2a Hey! Get off my lawn!

I didn’t even know that we had an abortion clinic in our town until I saw the anti abortion protester.  I have nothing against abortion or abortion clinics, except the fact that they draw anti abortion protesters.  I subscribe to Howard Stern’s proclamation that a woman should be able to have a legal abortion until their child reaches the age of 18 (it gives a mother enough time to determine if her kid is going to be a shit or not).

Yet on the other hand, there are so many great drugs these days like the morning after pill.  I hear they even have a 5 day pill, that any cell divisions within 5 days of sex can be washed out of a woman’s system.  Any woman, who walks around for 5 days with some guy’s jizz sloshing around in them and can’t decide whether or not to have his kid, should just bring it to term.

#1 Boat, RV, Project in Driveway

Boat in the Driveway 1
#1a Not too bad - Almost tolerable
RV in the Driveway
#1b Props for the cute front yard with low water effort

Come on.  Is there anything more trash than leaving your boat, RV, camper or project in the driveway?   If you love these things so much and you call your boat ‘Obsession’ or something, get a garage or slip. Jeez.

Boat & RV
#1c White Trash Through and Through


Button Fly Pants (as opposed to a zipper)

It has to be, that any clothing designer who ever added a button fly to a pant instead of choosing a zipper could not be straight**. And I can confidently say that there is not one straight man on this earth who enjoys the extra attention paid to his crotch while he tries to button his button fly pants in a public restroom.

“Ahhh, no sir, I was not playing with myself in front of your son here in the airport restroom. I was just trying to button my new fancy, button fly pants.”

“Yes, sir, I realize that the zipper was invented like a hundred years ago.  Actually, it was about a hundred and sixty years, in 1851.”

“No sir, I do not think I’m ‘some kind of fucking cowboy’.”

If I was Larry Craig’s lawyer I would screw the ‘wide-stance’ defense***.  What I’d do is, I would appoint as many men to the jury as I could.  In my opening statement I would walk up to the jury and just say three words, “Button fly pants”.

All of the jurors would then go, “ahhhhhh”.  End of case. In the law books forever as, “The Button-Fly Defense”.

** I may at this point be accused being some kind of homophobe, which is completely untrue.  I am the least homophobic person that I know, (and I will be able prove this in a future post).  I just feel that a gay clothing designer would have trouble predicting that there would be an issue with the extra 5 minutes that it takes to button up your fucking button fly pants.

*** Larry Craig was arrested for soliciting sex from men in the restroom of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  He tried the now famous ‘wide-stance’ defense.