1. Friday nights were spent traipsing down That One Street where all the shops and the local movie theater were. Otherwise, you went to the mall.
2. You went to school with the same people for years. You could look around your classroom and name everyone’s most distant uncle as well as their GPA.
3. Your parents knew everything about everyone because they would bump into neighbors while walking your dog or shopping for groceries and gossip for hours.
4. You grew up celebrating your birthday at restaurants where the waiters would make the entire restaurant sing happy birthday to you.
5. You couldn’t walk anywhere. And it’s not like there was any reasonable form of public transportation put in place, which meant carpools until one of your friends would illegally drive you the day they got their license.
6. There was an impenetrable car pooling system in place, with an elaborate schedule of whose mom was driving who and whether they were doing pick-up or drop-off.
7. Your 16th birthday was arguably the most important day of your entire life. No longer would you have to ask your parents to drive 25 minutes just to watch tv at your friend’s house for an hour.
8. Because you always only wanted to hang out at other people’s houses. There was nothing to do at your house (and arguably nothing to do at anyone else’s), but you felt like you were actually doing something if you watched ABC Family’s Harry Potter Weekend on someone else’s couch while eating someone else’s food.
9. When you finally turned 16, you and your friends would spend an inordinate amount of time hanging out in parking lots. Seriously. That was entertainment.
10. Or you’d drive around aimlessly, blasting music. Bonus points if you were simultaneously eating McDonald’s.
11. There was that one diner that everyone went to. It wasn’t even that great, but where else where you going to eat after 10pm?
12. You’ve been to a Dave Matthews concert. You don’t know why or how because you honestly don’t even like the music and couldn’t name any of the songs, but it was just a mandatory suburban rite of passage.
13. It was a crushing blow to your ego if anyone caught you out to dinner/at the movies/around town with your parents.
14. Holiday seasons were a widespread neighborhood competition to decorate front yards the most elaborately and outlandishly.
15. You name the closest major city as your residency when talking to people outside of your suburb/state.
16. But God forbid you end up talking to someone from that actual city because then you have to explain you actually live “X minutes outside” of it. Mortifying.
17. Seriously, City Kids scare the shit out of you.
18. Everyone rioted when a major chain would try to set up shop in town. Especially if it was buying out a local establishment.
19. You never used street names when giving directions to people. Your instructions sounded much more like: “Hey, you know that dance studio where my sister threw up that one time next to the store that sells weird patio furniture? Across the street is this really cool new breakfast place—meet me there.”
20. Summers were jam-packed with block party barbecues and essentially moving into the house of whichever one of your friend’s had a swimming pool.
21. You’re allowed to make fun of how boring and lame your suburb is, but anytime someone else tries to comment on it, you get crazy defensive.