Life and Liquor

The Other Side of the Gate

I currently live in a condo in a gated community.

In January I spontaneously moved to Phoenix, Arizona.

By spontaneously I mean the original plan was to relocate to Los Angeles, but I changed my destination two days before the move.

You could imagine how thrilled my parents were with my decision-making abilities.

Within a month of moving I secured a job at a media-marketing firm and found my current place of living. The condo is owned by my roommate, who is currently in medical school (form a line ladies… it starts behind me).

The way I describe my current living situation to acquaintances is “bad neighborhood, great community.” I’ve never felt afraid in my neighborhood, but it’s littered with pawn shops and liquor stores, and its Wal-Mart is the craziest Wal-Mart I have ever been to.

And I mean crazy by Wal-Mart standards. That’s fucking crazy. At my Wal-Mart every person is a person of Wal-Mart.

I grew up in rural Ohio. We didn’t have gated communities, just fences to keep the animals inside. Career opportunities included being a farmer, a teacher, or a laborer. If you wanted to be something else, they didn’t know what to do with you.

I guess this is how I ended up in the desert.

Now I’m trying to figure out when I became this person. This person who works at a trendy creative campus by day and retreats to the safety of his gates at night.

I had the same feeling throughout college, this paranoia that I was going to be ridiculed and exiled for my working class roots, that any day I could be exposed and tossed back to the other side of the gate. I still can’t shake that feeling.

I’m just a curious working class kid who climbed over the gate, wondering if I’m supposed to be here.

And waiting to see if I’ll get thrown out.


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