“Go home! Go home!” Some bitch with a British accent is yelling at me and Indigo. With a sigh of exasperation, I realize: this is not what I came here for.
I came here to get a drink with my friend and have a good time. But things went a little sideways after some woman at the bar kept bumping into Indigo. In a huff of frustration, Indigo politely asked the woman to give her some space. It wasn’t a crowded bar, and it certainly wasn’t a club – in fact, it was a fairly nice, upscale bar, so asking for some space is a reasonable expectation.
Apparently the woman didn’t take kindly to Indigo’s request, and made a snide comment. This caused Indigo to roll her eyes, and that’s when the British bitch (who through later observation seemed to have no social connection to the woman at the bar) started yelling, “Go home!” at us.
“We are home!” we retorted because, yup, we’re both born and raised in the East Bay, baby. But what really bothered me was the fact that she had a British accent – and we all know what the British are famous for: being colonizers. She certainly wasn’t from here (although, you can never tell with crazy people. I think it might have been entirely possible that it was a British accent she bought online and wears around town so she can seem exotic or whatever). I also noticed, much to my chagrin, the knock off Chanel purse, at which point I felt like: nah, fuck her.
The interaction eventually escalated, but don’t worry, dear readers, we clowned her pretty hard. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.
The blight of gentrification has been one that has taxed us locals in a pretty depressing way. This interaction was just the most blistering example of it, but we’re dealing with pretty much the same thing on a day to day basis: people who aren’t from here essentially telling us to leave. It’s definitely a bummer, mostly because this is our home. We are from here, we grew up here, and we’re still here. Yet the gentrifiers look at us as the interlopers.
I could wax poetic about the sense of entitlement that they have, but, meh, I have spent so much time complaining about it that I think I’ve tired myself out on the topic. Rather, I would like to state that I reject the idea that this is more their home than mine. In fact, if anything, these gentrifying interlopers are nothing more than drifters, wandering from city to city, without a true sense of home or belonging. I think this is what makes them such sour people – they had no sense of belonging in the place they came from, and we certainly aren’t giving them a sense of belonging here because this is our home. Not yours. I imagine that being confronted with the reality of not belonging anywhere in particular, with nowhere to come from and nowhere to go, would drive a person crazy. From my personal experience, feeling robbed of a sense of home has made me pretty fucking angry, but at least I have a home. As much as this place changes, and the streets look different, and there are so many new faces, I still have something they will never have: my childhood memories, my childhood friends. There’s something special about having known everybody in this fucking city for years, through thick and thin, for better or for worse. It’s comforting.
They have no comfort. And I don’t think we should give them one. Of course, this is why there so desperately trying to build a sense of home in a place where they don’t belong. This will never be their home, and they know it, which is why they want to destroy it for all of us. Because they’re bitter, sour people.
But they can’t take it away from us. As much as they try, those of us who are from here will always be from here, no matter how many people leave, no matter how many sports teams leave, no matter how many new buildings pop up, no matter how unfamiliar this place becomes. We are not aliens here. So long as we stay, we have something that cannot be taken away from us.
I am home, and they will always be homeless. They can have the nicest houses in the city, but they will never have a home. Not while I’m here.