Saturday, February 7, 2015

In my neighborhood

I live in a middle class neighborhood.

No, I live in a Middle Class Neighborhood. Like, when the President, all the Politicians, the commentators, lo, all the nightmare of talking heads, when they talk about the middle class, if you scrape all the bullshit off of it, scrub it, wash it down for hours exclaiming wonderingly "I can't believe how much shit they got all over this!", when you finally, hands chapped and red and raw and cramping, get it moderately clean, that middle class.

It's a good city neighborhood near some nice things like waterfalls and coffee shops, and not too far really from anything. The houses are all on average notably smaller than the other houses of these cities and this country, but being built mostly in the teens, twenties, and thirties of the last century, they are all also prettier, cuter, and more human. Crime runs at a tenuously acceptable low rate with the exception of burglaries. We seem to have more than our share of burglaries. If all those burglars were struck dead as I write I would not mind. I do not think that what they do is beyond the possibility of forgiveness, but the fact that they lack the tiny shred of decency to go to one of our many much wealthier neighborhoods deepens their crime too much for me to want to fuss with all that forgiveness stuff. Stealing is like progressive taxation; a million dollars from Bill Gates is a hardly a crime, but a nickel from a beggar is a grave sin. We are not a neighborhood of beggars, but up that nickel to maybe an ipad and that's the same level we're at.

We have trees and cats and birds and usually enough quietude. Squirrels! Flowers! Snow! It's a lovely neighborhood. If there is anything for me to fret about these days it's usually the room additions. I guess that's economics again. People around here mostly seem to have just enough money to do some kind of add-on just so long as they make sure it's as cheap and ugly as possible. So we get more and more of these sweet little stucco craftsman houses with crappy clapboard half stories that look like they were built in the Seventies jammed onto them. I think people around here spend a lot of time in their houses and figure "let's get it better for us on the inside, to hell with outside." in contrast to the elegant, lovely additions going on in our swankiest neighborhoods: "It should look beautiful on the outside because it represents we who only have time to visit our own houses occasionally." 

It all provokes me to sometimes uncharitably think about my neighbors "If you're not willing to sidle around your washing machine to get to a sink maybe you belong in the suburbs!" But I have not given up hope. I think with enough of these freakish ugly additions all the houses will start to look like Frankenstein houses. This will be good for Halloween, when we're at our best anyway as a neighborhood, and it may even start to scare all the burglars away, who, we all know, are cowards, too scared to go where the real money is.


  1. Middle class folks are creative. They do not fly to the Caribbean but instead they take a boat to an island and make up bocci ball games in nature. They do things like that. Here in my middle class neighborhood there was a man who would every Monday rummage through people's recycle bins before the trash man came. I never minded at all. In fact we would try to separate the cans before he arrived. But others minded and he was stopped.

    1. I think the problem with that is the recycling pick up is supported by all that aluminum the man was taking. If someone is taking the recycling company's most valuable stuff you would have to pay (or pay more) for your recycling pick up. It is, I understand, partly supported by the value of your recyclables. In our slightly more dense neighborhood we have junkers who come down the alleys and take stuff that might be valuable that has been set out for trash (not recycling). That one, I think, is fine and good, though I suppose it can provide cover for petty theft and burglaries and so sometimes can concern the neighbors.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.