I feel unsafe in The Bay sometimes.
Which is a new phenomenon for me. I grew up in Missouri City (before the age of Travis Scott and Mo-City becoming some kind of oxymoronic suburban hood). We moved to Third Ward Houston my 6th grade year, which is not an oxymoronic suburban hood but an actual hood (although gotta be honest, we lived more hood adjacent than in the thick of things). My alternative hippy high school was smack in the middle of Sunnyside, another fairly famous Houston hood, and it used to piss me off that all of the white kids were afraid to engage with the residents or leave the school grounds (like really where do you get the chutzpah to move into someone else’s neighborhood, and then demonize the systems that existed long before you arrived, and that your fear and pretension high-key perpetuate?)
My point being that I’m used to navigating and existing in spaces that others might find uncomfortable. I’ve learned how to navigate crackheads and addicts. I know how to walk in a way that tells people to get the fuck right off. I understand how to treat people like people, despite their circumstances, with the dignity and respect deserving of all human-beings.
But The Bay is unlike any place I’ve ever lived or visited, because the Bay cannibalizes itself, and its appetite is insatiable. It eats space. It eats resources. It eats people. And there’s no concept of satiation or contentment, because the ideas the Bay perpetuates: success, wealth, status, power; are abstract and thusly unattainable.
There is a desperation here that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and it scares me. Because I’m not afraid of people, but I’m terrified of what desperation does to people.