We are, by no means, the upper echelon of anything in these parts. There are neighborhoods surrounding us that house real-live millionaires. Homes so grand, you are free to ogle but you must do it from a distance. You can get no closer than the gilded gates surrounding the perimeter of their very own private utopia. What Jason and I consider our brass ring, would be a long descent down for them. Even still, the people in our sector, aren’t exactly living in squalor. We’re just not at the top of the food chain, is my point.
When we moved into this community, I felt like there was some big mystery that would be solved for me. I’d finally get to see how the other half lived. I guess this blog is about, how not pleasantly surprised I am. Don’t get me wrong, if you go for a walk, the neighbors smile and wave. Every lawn is manicured, everyone has a dog, everyone has a golf cart, the birds are singing, and it quite literally feels like something out of a movie. It appears to be everything I ever wanted. But when you get a chance to peer inside the true beliefs and concerns of the people who reside within it, it can be a little unnerving. It’s hard to believe in a place so lovely, those living within it aren’t always so lovely. Most everyone around here is aware of and uses the Nextdoor app. For those unfamiliar, it is an app that was designed for neighbors to connect. It is very convenient for lost or found pets, items for sale, recommendations, and local events. Yes, but that’s not always what it’s used for. It’s really just another social media source to voice complaints, whine, and argue. It’s a lot of first world problems. It is a place to call out your neighbors in a public forum. It is essentially a virtual town hall meeting. The problem with that is, there’s still an element of anonymity. You know it’s a neighbor but not necessarily the guy directly next door. If he’s a few blocks away, you’re safe to resume usual keyboard warrior antics. When not speaking directly to someone’s face, a person will always be more brazen and say things they would almost never say, otherwise. Neighbors will post photos of someone’s car who has parked in their driveway but blocked the sidewalk. They will post photos of neighbor’s who have a dead patch in their lawn. People are put on blast on a regular basis. It is not a feeling of united community; it is divisive. One women once went on a 5-paragraph tirade about leaves on lawns. These things, to me, are not problems. When Jason and I used to drive through these neighborhoods, I wondered what the residents worried about. Here’s the big mystery solved. What they worry about…
Actual collection of titles to post rants:
“Golf carts on the sidewalks!!!”
“To the lady in the white SUV that cut me off and flipped me off!”
“Suspicious looking man walking on Cotton Ridge!!!”
“Rake your leaves, people!”
“Dog not on leash!”
“Drone in the sky!”
“There were pan-handlers at Kroger!”
“Private airport pilots flying below deck!”
Those are just some examples of some of the MAJOR concerns. Doesn’t seem too horrendous, right? These are things are laughable so they’re nothing I can’t simply scoff at and move on. However, it is the elitist posts that I find so disheartening. Last year, there was a brutal hail storm. Pretty much everyone’s roof had to be replaced. A man posted on the 4th of July that he couldn’t understand why there was hammering and banging going on during a holiday. His neighborhood was listed with the post and it was one of the pricier sectors. He couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just take a day off. He went on to clarify that he wasn’t sure if Mexicans celebrated the 4th. The list of things incredibly out of touch with that post could go on for days. People immediately noticed the Mexican comment but quickly pretended like it wasn’t said. However, no one noticed he just assumed someone had the luxury of taking the day off. I’m glad he has the privilege to do so. It personally annoys me because I am the person who, if I don’t go to work, I don’t get paid. If I don’t get paid, I can’t afford lawncare, and then he’ll post a photo of my yard. See how that works? It was a complete lack of touch with the real world. He literally couldn’t see beyond his circumstances. Never-you-mind the peasants rowing below deck. Isn’t everyone in a corporate position with a 6-figure salary and paid leave? No sir. No, they’re not. The view from the top is obviously distorted.
This next part could be misconstrued but the “suspicious person” posts get me. Pretty frequently, someone is seen walking that a resident decides doesn’t look like they belong here. What, about a person, that makes them suspicious is usually pretty predictable. I’ve decided if you’re not dressed either business casual or in upscale activewear, you’re a suspect. Make no mistake, I’m always grateful when someone posts video from their Ring Cam that caught legitimate bad activity around their house to alert their neighbors but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about someone simply being spotted and seen as too lowly a person to possibly live here like the rest of us. Naturally, they’ve come into our Shangri-La to rape and pillage. Had he had some golf clubs, he might’ve avoided some scrutiny. Because who doesn’t have a Tuesday afternoon free to play a few holes? A guy once posted he saw a suspicious looking guy walking down the street and he doubled back to follow him. He just assumed he didn’t belong. He was commended for keeping us safe. He mentioned some guys playing basketball late at night. It was speculated they were there selling drugs. No real evidence, just not looking up to snuff.
This morning’s post rant was a doozy. A man wrote a long diatribe on how to prevent rental properties from happening in your neighborhood. It was a detailed list on how to make the landlord’s and renter’s life a living hell. It was a bullet point “how-to” on how to spend every minute of your waking hours focusing on the downfall of someone you don’t even know. Someone we can assume is here to mar the perfection. Someone automatically assumed to be inferior. Someone clearly, beneath them. The commenters were very eager to join the ranks. They had their pitchforks and torches at the ready. The mob has been summoned. The renter peasants will not prosper. They will learn their rightful place in the slums on the east side. They do not belong here and nor do apartments. Apartment dwellers are referred to as low-income families. There is no place for them here.
In the end, it feels like no one is interested in obliging a single mother, who can only afford to live in apartment, but wants her kid to attend the same schools we want our kids to attend. She somehow got confused and thought she had the right to be here. How do you improve your standing when people who’ve already achieved their goals do everything to keep you from getting there, too? That post today was a mission. It was a mission to shut people out. It was a conscious effort to keep someone down; to make sure they know their place. Their place isn’t in our pristine community, that was clear.
Lately, it’s not a club I’m so sure I’m enjoying. I get no pleasure from watching anyone being made to feel inferior. I’ve been made to feel that many times in my life. Inside, I will always be a poor kid from Arkansas just fighting for a better life. Do I belong here? Perhaps not but I made my way here. I’m not so sure I’d pass muster if my neighbors got to judge if I’m up to par. I don’t begrudge anyone else their right to be here beside me. If you can afford the rent or mortgage or the HOA dues in this zip code, you belong here as much as anyone else. It deeply bothers me to know someone is just trying to get a leg up and others are working diligently to make sure they fail. Who am I to deem someone unworthy? I don’t want that for anyone. I hope we all make it. A lot of my looming questions from my little Dallas apartment days have been answered. What do they worry about? Very little. That’s the problem.