Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Taste the Condescension!
Man, I love the anthropological-style essays about hipsters who move to suburbia and report their shocking findings!
    The second morning after I moved into my first officially "owned" home, I woke up to find my somewhat decrepit mailbox bashed in by vandals.

    I was rattled. As an Asian, I thought perhaps the bashing was meant as a kind of message to me: You are not wanted here - or something to that effect.

    Home ownership was, to me, a strange thing. You'd think it would give you a sense of belonging, of security. But for me it was a foray into territory that as a woman, and half Chinese, seemed off-limits, even though I was born here.

    It didn't help that my new next-door neighbor flew the flag in his front yard well past the Fourth of July and, I would discover, straight into winter.

    I live in Santa Cruz, so my initial reading on the mailbox bashing seemed improbable. Still, I was shaken. The neighborhood was suburban style, and filled with a lot of folks of retirement age who had lived in the city since before it had become "progressive" - since before anyone had heard of the word at all.

    Later on that day, as I was strolling along my block, I noticed that almost every one of my neighbors also had their mailboxes bashed in - except for those who had taken time to hand paint their mailboxes with flowers or hummingbirds, or who had added accessories to make their mailboxes into caricatures of cats or frogs or sharks or what have you. I mused that at least it was nice of the (I supposed) teenagers with the baseball bat to grant some forbearance for attempts at mailbox aesthetics.
She's lucky she moved to suburbia in California, because let me tell you, if that half-Chinese woman had moved onto my block, I would probably have not even noticed. Dramatically!

And she could have reported how the people in this tribe walk their children, fly flags with strange foreign emblems (giant green and gold Gs), and refuse to mow their lawns religiously.

Somewhere, somehow, hipsters are all caught by surprise by the revelation that people who live in homes instead of condos, lofts, or urban apartments are people, too!

Just wait until she realizes that the city she lives in is secretly named "Holy Cross" in Spanish!

Don't count on that. If you try to educate her, the exchange will go like this:

New Suburban Hipster: Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it Santa Cruz, which of course in German means a sacred urban vagina.
Gimlet: No, there's no way that's correct.
New Suburban Hipster: I'm sorry, I was trying to get tenure in a woman's study program at City University. I don't know what it means. I'll be honest, I don't think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.
Gimlet: Doesn't it mean Holy Cross?
New Suburban Hipster: No. No.
Gimlet No, that's - that's what it means. Really.
New Suburban Hipster: Agree to disagree.


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