Snoburbia: A Maryland Blog Applies to West St. Louis County
In Snoburbia, homes are McMansions and garages are always getting bigger to accommodate fleets of luxury vehicles.
The Washington Post recently profiled a blog created by stay-at-home mom Lydia Sullivan, who lives on the edge of the elite neighborhoods of suburban Washington, D.C. The blog, which examines her town with more than a pinch of jest, is called "Snoburbia."
Lydia wrote that when she saw all the OBX stickers on the Mercedes and BMW SUVs, she thought people were admitting a character flaw.
"I thought: 'Yeah, your car is obnoxious. Wow, that's really somebody who's self-aware,' " she told the Washington Post.
Then she found out that the "OBX" was a parking sticker for the Mid Atlantic's answer to Cape Cod: North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Lydia lives in the Montgomery County town of Kensington, which sits just north of a half dozen towns and villages that contain the words "Chevy Chase" in their official name.
The pecking order of cities by personal wealth in Maryland would start at the Maryland-DC borderline with Chevy Chase Village and would continue north up Connecticut Avenue including the Town of Chevy Chase, Villages of Chevy Chase Section 3 and 5, Village of North Chevy Chase and the Village of Chevy Chase View.
Instead of following the money along Connecticut Avenue, here in St. Louis we drive west on Clayton Road. It starts with big money in Ladue, followed by Frontenac & Huntleigh, then Town and Country which leads to the Snoburbia western border towns of Chesterfield and Wildwood.
For seven years, I worked as the assistant police chief in Chevy Chase Village, MD. When I moved back to St. Louis, I landed at ground zero of St. Louis Snoburbia when I bought a house in Town and Country and started shopping and dining in Chesterfield. I relate more to the original settlers of West County: the people—mostly modest doctors, lawyers and businessmen—who built nice 3,000 square foot ranch houses in 1960, who are now retired and consider a Buick as a sensible luxury car. I live in one of those 1960s ranch houses.
Here in Snoburbia, new homes have to have five car garages so his Porsche and her Mercedes SL have a place to be stored under a dust cover from November to April. The latest in nouveau riche transportation is of course the everyday Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator getting a whopping 8 miles per gallon with tricked out chrome spoke wheels that add an additional $1,800 to $80,000 price tag.
The first time I saw one of these, I immediately thought it was a high level drug dealer or pimp who was lost. Instead, behind the wheel was a thin 40-year blond and on the back window was a MICDS sticker.
Some trick out their big SUV on the cheap and go to the local tire store for a cheaper version of the chrome wheels.
"Guys with a high-end address will come out and put these wheels on their big SUVs and then come back six weeks later complaining about the brakes squeaking," one tire store manager told me. "I have to then explain that this happens when they buy something at a discount price that is twice as heavy as the wheel that was on the car."
Some of the newest houses here in Snoburbia, built just prior to the recession, aren't McMansions but flat out mansions. One not too far off of Clayton Road has a pool house with more square footage than most homes in Manchester and Ballwin.
Another sure sign you are in west St. Louis County Snoburbia is people who have mix breed dogs that are not mutts, but instead high priced "something-doodles."
"Everywhere there are proud overachievers…there is Snoburbia," Sullivan told the Washington Post. "I don't like to think of myself as a snob, but I have a $600 faucet and $300 door handles," she said.
Jeff Foxworthy has the standard, "You might be a redneck if…" So let's take a crack at it. You might live in Snoburbia if...