Back in 2017, I and two artist neighbors set up an exhibit at 410 GoodBuddy called The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle. I have a few things sitting on my computer from the exhibit that I’d like to share. Between no childcare and attempting to telework in less than ideal conditions, yes, I’m not posting much. But I can post this from the exhibit.
If your house existed in 1970, please take a colored pin and stick it on your house.
One pin per household.
I was chatting with another DC resident & gentrifier (let’s call him “Bob”) the other day about an aspect of living in a “transitional” neighborhood, the poverty. It is one thing to see the poor and the homeless on the street day to day, it is a whole nother ball of wax to live next door to people who are a mini-disaster away from homelessness.
Bob and his wife live next door to a Section 8 house and have experienced a series of troubled residents. “I’m tired of the crack heads yelling outside,” he moaned, regarding the current neighbor and her visitors. Besides that, he and his spouse have maintained a working relationship with the Section 8 neighbors. The ones before the current one, he suspects there was abuse and drug use. They were a nice enough family, but the husband would come back from the local liquor store with a bottle in a black bag and later that night there might be a ambulance to take away the father-in-law. The family would say it was the FIL’s health but Bob suspected elder abuse at the hands of the drunk husband. Then there were other things. When they family members hit Bob & wife up for money. At first it was small change that was quickly returned, then it became $10, $20, $30 and so on, that was never returned. So Bob decided to not lend them money because the excuses/lies were getting kinda blatant. He felt bad for the family, but he didn’t want to become an ATM either.
This whole living next to poor people is really new for him. He and his wife had your typical American middle class white suburban upbringing, where poor people were distant. In recent years he’s becoming more familiar with the poor’s plight but also their failings (okay maybe living near crackhead Section 8s not the best way but that’s what he’s got). Sympathy mixed with a load of frustration and downright annoyance.
This is poverty. Up close, and personal. It is next door. You can’t just pass it by on the street and think nothing of it 10 seconds later. It is there, where you live, and there is no escaping short of moving out. Second hand you experience the problems of poverty and there is nothing you can do to take your neighbors out of their predicament, and you know it. *sigh*