GentrificationWritten by Ryan Adam Smith
The sunset ripped towards the sky. At the center were bold reds and rich oranges that bled into each other and reached to the golden halo at the edge, the color of a freshly lit cigarette. The colors shot over the trees and houses and swirled through the deep powder clouds in the soon to be gentrified neighborhood where I lived. The streets were still old and gray with thick cracks large enough to stick a foot in. And the sidewalks were still painted with the same swirl of dull graffiti, the kind from young hooligans marking their territory rather than the bright colors from poor artists trying to make a statement. But the homes all looked to be under attack from the middle-class. They had become bored and tired of suburbia and snuck in through the sewer grates early in the morning with their zero-scape yards, eco-friendly windows, white trim, and brushes dripping with paint of earthly colors. They installed low picket-fences and removed bars from all the windows. Suddenly, the neighborhood felt welcoming, like every home was pulling your frail and nervous body in for fresh cookies and cold organic milk bought from a fourth generation farmer in the South Valley. It was pure hell.
I thought I might have to talk to one of the energy-sucking vampires, explain why I stayed home all day, why the large shipments of wine every week without a house big enough for a wine cellar. I wished it would all burn like the great Chicago fires or reverse to a time where crack-heads solemnly knocked on your door at midnight to ask for 63 cents. That was a time where life truly radiated out your eyes. It felt like anything could happen and you slept well at night just knowing you made it through the day. You didn’t have neighbors making you worry about your 401K or looking at you oddly for smoking around the kids. As long as you weren’t naked, everyone kept to their business. Now everyone wanted to rip you apart and stick their faces directly in your business. Pure hell, I say. Pure hell.