So you’ve done it. You’ve packed up all your shit and moved to the suburbs. It’s a little scary, but don’t lose your cool. There now begins a delicate window of time in which your new neighbors’ opinions of you are malleable. Here are a few tips on making that first impression a good one:
Or buying. Either way, a sweet treat goes a long way to forming a positive association. However…the LAST thing you want to do as the newbie is offer a baked good to which your neighbors are allergic or morally opposed. So your best bet is going to be something gluten-free, dairy-free, nitrate-free, high fructose corn syrup-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and organic. Just put some almond flour and agave in the oven at 350° and see what happens.
Next up, you’re going to need a truck.
It may not make sense now, but it’s time to trade in the family car for a sweet pick-up. Just throw the kids in the back (it’s their dream come true, anyway), because hey, if it was good enough for your great-grandparents it’s good enough for them. Anyway, you are now the neighbor with the truck. Everyone will want to borrow it before you’ve unloaded your boxes. And that’s okay. In return for handing them the keys for a few hours you receive genuine gratitude and a strategically reserved I.O.U.
Wait a few weeks before putting out your glass recycling.
An important part of community living is getting a feel for how your neighbors spend their free time. When trash and recycling day rolls around, take a walk down your street and observe the glass bins. You probably already know if your neighborhood is a chardonnay or a Schlitz kind of place, but now is the time to acquire details. If you notice a modest two or three wine bottles on recycling day seems to be the norm from your neighbors, maybe rethink flaunting your empty Costco whiskey jugs every week.
Show your spirit.
Pick an underappreciated holiday (think May Day or Boxing Day), and celebrate the hell out of it. Turn it into a block party with pizza rolls and a bounce house. You will be a legend to the neighborhood kids, while the adults regard you as a whimsical and eccentric Gatsby-esque figure.
I know the last thing you want to do upon finishing the great schlep into your new place is get out and meet the neighbors. You probably look like hell. You can’t find your box of dishes and silverware, and the previous owners seem to have left their cat. But suck it up, take a shower, feed the cat, then get out there and start forming that false and equally fragile image of your awesomeness. Welcome to the neighborhood.