Saturday, October 22, 2005

Tight asses and dancin' all day long...

My iceberg is currently parked in one of those "new urban" planned communities. You know the ones I'm talking about, where the city annexed a bunch of empty land, and declared they were going to put a self-contained community there. So we have office buildings, apartments, townhouses, self-contained homes, a shopping center, a school, a bank, police extension, a park, and they're going to be building a branch library soon. All in all, it's pretty convenient -- I can walk to the store (which is about 3/4 mile away) if I want, for example, and if I don't want, I don't burn much gas getting there.

Now, one of the things they did was put little bubbles of housing for the poor in this soup. So you have high end McMansions, and then... a small apartment complex for the poor ("affordable housing", they call it). Thus far, it has worked out fairly well. Because these bubbles are small, they don't turn into the cesspools of crime and venality that occur with big housing projects for the poor. This is a very safe neighborhood, where I feel safe walking at any time of the day or night.

And just out my back door is an apartment complex that is temporary housing for homeless families...

Now one thing I do notice, since my patio overlooks their parking lot: These folks actually talk to each other. They're out there in their parking lot, laughing and shooting the bull. Us tight-ass middle-class folks, we don't talk to each other. We come home from our jobs, go into our apartments and homes, and park ourselves in front of the computer or the big-screen television.

And another thing I notice: These folks have a lot more fun than us tight-ass middle class folks. A lot of the homeless dudes are musicians (homeless musicians? Perish the thought!). They're out there jammin' and rappin' and folks are out there dancin' and laughing.

I don't want to glorify the poor. I've been poor before. It sucked. I'm glad I no longer have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from, or whether I'll be able to meet my rent payment this month. But it seems to me that, in the course of turning ourselves into middle-class wage slaves, that us drones here in this Stepford Apartments have lost something, something important: our humanity.

Which explains, I suppose, why the majority of Americans still view 2,000 dead American soldiers as more of a tragedy than 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians...

- Badtux the Thoughtful Penguin


  1. Ah, yes. I remember those days of being penniless, wondering where the next drop of gas was going to come from. Luckily, I had a checking account and could write a check that wouldn't hit the bank for 2 or 3 days. That's not a reality, anymore. Now, you'd better have the money in the bank.
    Depending on whether they have jobs or not, the poor (jobless) have time to play their music between job searches. They practice, also, by playing to their neighborhood. How cool! Even being poor, the kids can, when grown, look back at the few fun/good times they had.
    It is truly sad that people don't acknowledge the dead on the other side. They are truly victims in shrub's desires for oil.

  2. I had my troubled times, too. I live in a nice house in a nice, middle-class community now. My neighbors and I talk to each other all the time. I know every one of them by name. It's pretty friendly.

    Wanna know how I learned all their names? I went out door-to-door for my town council election, handing out flyers for one of the candidates. I know who the Republicans and who the Democrats are. I learned everyone's first name. I know the names of most of their kids and pets, too. It's a good way to get to know your neighbors.

  3. Oldwhitelady, most of the dead on the "other side", as you put it, were just ordinary folks who had/have no side at all, they were just living their lives as best they can and *boom* car bomb blows up as they wait in line to get into their job, or *boom*, a tank shell comes crashing through their living room window and blows up their house, or *boom* an IED blows up a truck in front of their house and frightened GI's spew bullets all around, taking out women and children too in their eagerness to survive a hostile environment.

    That is the true tragedy of the Iraq invasion. Soldiers sign up to kill or be killed. But those poor slobs who end up killed as "collateral damage" didn't sign up for anything at all. All they want to do is live their lives in peace.

    - Badtux the War Penguin

  4. Or *boom!* they have the bad fortune to live in a neighborhood surrounding the restaurant where U.S. military intelligence thought (wrongly) Saddam Hussein was eating dinner.


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