who the heck knows anything, anyway

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Moving Back

Yesterday, I stood outside the front of my new building waiting to let a few of my friends inside to see our place. As I was standing there, checking my phone, a beat-up 90's Corolla drove past me on its way across the St John's Bridge. It honked. I looked up. The passenger flipped me off.

The duo was white, probably in their 20's. Male or female, doesn't matter. I want to say I flipped them off right back, but my reaction time to aggression is never fast. I just stood there.

There's a lot of hate among native Portlanders for Invaders. Housing prices have gone up exponentially, so we say "All those Californian's are buying up our houses, and we can't afford to live here." An influx of young professionals means old houses are torn down and apartment complexes are put up. It's natural growth, and it has major problems, but it's also bound to happen. If you want to live in a West Coast city and you're not in tech, Portland is really the only place to go. It really is a beautiful city. I don't blame people for wanting to be here. But I still hold a little bit of that resentment myself, because I'm perceived as being One Of Them.

I went to a low-income high school that provided job opportunities for all of us. The kids I went to school with--myself, included--have fought hard to go to college, to get into a trade, to climb that job ladder. I shouldn't be ashamed of my successes--my classmates aren't. But I'm white and middle class and I look like One Of Them, so I am ashamed.

This isn't a plea for sympathy or reassurance. It's more of a reminder for me not to be one of those natives who hates. On a national level, I've never had respect for people who are anti-immigration (in fact, I don't think borders should even exist), so it's funny that I find myself feeling so aggressive towards first-generation Portlanders.

I guess the money thing is relevant. I have a bad relationship with money. I hate it. The privileges a steady income comes with are great--food, happy cats, internet, the ability to write and make art and volunteer my time--but knowing that I have more than someone else kills me.

I feel better after writing this. I don't think I'll publish it, but I'll save it. I have to verbally process this shit, you know? Good people don't honk at randos on the street and make them feel like shit. Good people figure their shit out and try their hardest, and it's all ok.