Raise Your Hand If The Bay Area Makes You Feel Like Trash
While riding BART in the early am of a Monday like any other, Facebook served me an article entitled “Feeling Strapped on a $400,000 income? That’s the Bay Area.”
I stared at my tiny computer in my palm in disbelief but not with a sense of surprise. People always complain here, and of course, they have a right to. I thought I’d be met with another person complaining about home prices and the cost of living and much more, and I was right.
I usually do this type of complaining to my parents after rent is paid and I have nothing left to live off, despite working tirelessly in and out of the office.
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But for a software developer earning $400,000 to do that complaining and somehow be justified in the eyes of the almighty Silicon Valley economy is downright maddening. It’s down-the-rabbit-hole, put some tea on the kettle, and invite your friends over for an LSD-induced tea party maddening. Except you probably can’t afford a tea kettle and you probably can’t find LSD.
It seems that within the past 30 years, longer than I’ve been alive, this city has gone from “hippie paradise, come one come all, let’s party” to “Don’t dare try to make a life here unless you’re earning six figures and even if you do, you’ll still be ‘poor,’ statistically.”
The betrayal you can feel on a daily basis is unnerving as you look out onto the faces of all the hard-working Bay Area people who are no-doubt struggling with this push and pull every day.
This is the New Bay Area. And the New Bay Area should have its own flag with a tech worker carrying Blue Bottle Coffee past a homeless person with a speech bubble coming from their head saying “I don’t carry cash.”
Suddenly, my thoughts are broken by the New York Dolls song “Trash.” It’s a perfect sonic representation of how I and so many others feel as they wallow through the New Bay Area.
If you’ve never heard a New York Dolls song, grab your iPhone and download their greatest hits now, and just press play while reading the rest of this article.
While they’re an East Coast 70s-era punk band, they have several tunes that conjure images of packed BART cars, sad faces, and the feeling of being a plastic bag filled with utter and complete garbage, despite your best efforts to be a fresh bouquet of animatronic flowers.
The flower children would be so disappointed by the fake affectation that has overgrown their beloved pasture of debauchery.
In the eyes of the true Bay Area elite (those with a $10,000,000 net worth or higher) are the rest of us just trash that simply can’t be picked up until we all are priced out and move away?
Is the goal of this economy and this place to build a safe haven for the rich and a barrier against all those who make the Bay Area great?
I’m sorry that this article can’t give you answers. But I hope it gives you solace.
Please, just raise your hand if you too feel like trash. And maybe our pile of trash bags can raise such a stink that things start to change.