09 May, 2010

Free Floating Anxiety

I try to keep things on a lighter note in this blog. Still, sometimes it's hard not to notice darker skies. A few weeks ago, someone took to the streets of the Mission/Dolores Park area and scrawled this message on several buildings (it's a bit hard to see, but it says, "Kill Hipsters & Yuppies"). I couldn't help noticing that the locations had something in common; they were all popular restaurants, cafes or bars.
I live in what is, quite possibly, the HIPPEST NEIGHBORHOOD IN AMERICA®. The private Google/Yahoo/Facebook/YouTube buses prowl the streets, collecting their live cargo and transporting them to points south (places, evidently, no hipster would consider LIVING in).
The person who sprayed this graffito probably notices these people too, notices how they fill the restaurants, cafes, bars, gourmet groceries and organic ice cream shops to overflowing. In a place where lot of people are feeling less than secure, where a lot of people are unemployed or underemployed, a good number of people are doing very well indeed. I don't think I've ever been so conscious of the divide between the young and rich, who constitute so many of the neighborhood's new residents, and the old "just-getting-by" types who fill the rent-controlled apartments. The forces at work in this City and, specifically, this neighborhood are as old as the hills. There's not much one can do about gentrification. A little rent control here, some subsidized housing there. In the end, change is inevitable. I think the angry person with the spray can probably knows this. He (or she) probably "keys" expensive cars in his spare time (no doubt, he has PLENTY of spare time). I'm hopeful that's as far as the acting-out goes.
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say with this post, other than to acknowledge the terrible anxiety that lurks not far below the surface of our beautiful City... and our country. Not happy thoughts.

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