If you’re a GS-5 step 1, you’re poor

Argue with me if you want but a MA in History is one of the most useless graduate degrees out there because my first job out of grad school was a GS-5 step 1 Museum Technician job (bathrooms, down the stairs and to the left). Looking at the AMI link from a posting on the ANC2C02 blog clarifying affordable housing and the locality pay schedule for the DC metro region from the largest employer, GS-5/1 are a tad below 50% of the AMI (Area Median Income) for single households. You hit 50% at step 4. I’m not criticizing Uncle Sam’s wages. No, my then $19K (1995-96) salary and living in a shared apartment barely being able to pay back my student loans for 2 years inspired me to go back to grad school and get a practical degree.
Now I know non-profit people, just starting out, with their bright new shiny BAs and BSs or whathave you, get paid jack because just working for the cause is payment enough. Besides, more where they came from when one set gets jaded. Anyway, when I did once non-scientifically compare salaries with newbie non-profit people, they were also below or around 50% of the AMI. In time this changes. You get experience, pick up some valuable skills, get older, get/apply for something else in the org or at another nonprofit or association, go back to school, something, and you start moving into the 60%-80%-100% range. Or you move back to Wisconsin or Minnesota, one of those things.

Waddaminute: Porch Culture

Something said at the Shiloh FLC Gentrification forum is not sitting right with me. And this is just my life experience, which may not reflect someone else’s who may have lived in a different era and place. But the idea of porch culture being so prominent isn’t exactly jiving with my memories.
I grew up in a mediumish North Central Florida city in the 1970s-1980s. I’ll admit there has been some climate change, but the general weather is hot & humid. I had no clue what people meant by humidity until moving north because when it was hot it was always humid. Shade did not matter, much. So in the 70s I think people did hang out on their screened (Florida has big bugs) porches, but as air conditioning, sweet, sweet humidity controlling AC in the form of window units became more affordable in the 80s and 90s people in my neighborhood were seen less often on their porches.
Also, I think cable also played a part. My family got cable in the early 80s, 1982 or 1983 to be exact. Yes, it is entertaining to watch the world go by sitting on the porch, but so are the stories and wrestling and that new Michael Jackson video in the AC.
FF to today in Shaw.
Not that no one hangs out on their porch or stoop. I will occasionally sit outside in the front yard, when the mood grabs me. Cell phone guy will be out, in his front, broadcasting his business (at some point he’ll wander to his backyard too) loudly and clearly. Other households will sit out front for a smoke, or to decompress before heading back inside. There are so many inside things that demand our leisure time, so it seems unfair to blame gentrification for the decline of porch culture. Maybe technology is to blame.