Sunday, March 4, 2012

Around Here

On an old wood table sits a new camera bag. Thick canvas protrudes proudly in all directions, as the girth of twin supple golden suede handles spout to an arch as perfect as St. Louis. I’ve never quite seen a camera bag like this one, and frankly as beautiful as it is, I’m bothered by the newness of it.

My house is nothing more than a pile of bricks atop a modest hill. The home sits nestled between two houses just like it. The vehicle in the driveway that so eloquently dons masking tape over a knocked out taillight was built when Clinton ran the country. The neighborhood, filled with plumbers and tow truck operators, welcomes home residents in uniforms that offer first names via a sewn patch on the chest. I haven’t spent much time in Detroit, but I imagine my town is the smaller southern counterpart.

In this part of town, my side of town, luxury is defined by having job, and getting your hands dirty. There aren’t a lot of passport-touting yuppies around here. No slick talking hedge fund managers, or eager beaver executive know-it-alls to tell us all what to want and how to act. Gentrification may never come this direction, and by all accounts that would be just fine by the sincere folks that call these single story ranches home.

A boy a few doors down spends hours practicing his jump shot on a decrepit plastic basketball hoop slanted just enough in one direction to render it useless in actually perfecting any type of shot one would use in real game, yet he shoots undeterred. He plows away in the frigid cold of winter, as frigid as South Carolina gets anyways, and the scorching, are-you-kidding-me heat of summer. I often wonder where his iPad went? If he has the chance to sip on the cocktail of apps and air conditioning his peers across the track so often quench their techno thirst on? Sometimes as I pass in my car, or on foot, I watch him long enough for him to notice, then I nod approval his way, I can relate to that gut-wrenching feeling of wanting to be outside of the home, anywhere, but inside. He shoots, he scores.

Real people live here, they are too busy practicing the art of getting by to pretend to be someone they are not.

With no money you are no different here. You are accepted here without financial audit. You don’t need to say where you went on vacation, or what you drive, or where you work, you can just exist, and frankly that’s good enough. And so it comes as no surprise the property values in this neighborhood hardly ever go up.

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