Yesterday we went out gambling at Graton, I won around $145 but lost it all later. My father spent $400 on the machines there, and he basically laughed it all off while the rest of us were completely stunned by it. So that was like are so-called “fun” day basically, by spending money and starring at a screen (oh wait, we have the internet for that… but that will be gone soon in a matter of weeks). I suggested at one point taking trips to visit a barn or a hike in the woods, but they kept ignoring me by talking over me.
It’s been really difficult these few last months, and I know I’m not the only one fretting about finals and holding down a job. I’ve been studying at AAU for nearly ten years and had been living in California around the same time. When I came to the SF Bay Area for the first time I wasn’t even aware of how much history there truly was (Alcatraz, Harvey Milk, etc.), or that there was even a very thriving and prominent art scene (that’s being overtaken right now by the tech industry). I only knew about the Golden Gate Bridge and Full House.
It’s an insanely beautiful place too, you have a mediterranean climate like in Israel where you have warm-hot summers and rainy wet winters. There are many mountains and forests, even in and around the more metropolitan areas, with lots of trees and foliage (if your lucky you might come across some deers near your driveway or a a heard of buffalos). We also looked at each other in the eyes and had normal conversations with each other, sadly I’ve seen less and less of that happening…
The very things that are changing the overall landscape of the region; are high rents, where people who are low and middle class who have been living and working there for decades who can no longer afford playing rent so they move elsewhere or wind up homeless. And gentrification, when people who are usually white and affluent move into areas that were once poorer areas of color, as a result of rent being insanely expensive.
Oddly enough that never affected me on a personal level. I was only eight years old when the dot-com boom first happened, we were one of the very few families in the 90s to own a computer with internet access and the only thing I ever wanted to do after I got home from school then was to be at home browsing the web. There were times I played outside, but my best friends were my computer and my collection of CD-ROMs. I was a hard-core computer nerd… which fortunately got me into web design a decade later.
Little did I know as a child that people then were slowly being priced out of their homes in the Bay and elsewhere to make way for the workers in the tech industry. The very thing that made all of that technology possible for us, was having real consequences for a lot of other people. I could get around any place I want to with ease through an app on my iPhone, but I know that the neighborhood I’m in isn’t the same as it was ten and twenty years ago. The more convenient our lives are getting to be, the more gentrified our neighborhoods keep getting to be. It’s crazy but in some odd way it’s just a part of it.
But in-spite of it all, there is still a lot of beauty and love to this place and that part of it never changes… like what I’ll be writing about next. Stay tuned…