Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Trends of Brentwood

As I get adjusted to my new neighborhood, I'd love to introduce you to it as well.

My neighborhood is called Brentwood (or Pearl World in street lingo) and consists of hundreds of small single family homes (which still may have 12 or more residents) and occasional small apartment buildings surrounding the local park.

The further help you understand (and be cool) below is the rundown of what's hot and what's not in Brentwood.

1. Solidarity and community. People take care of each other here. Often it can feel like a small town, everybody knows everybody else. Its one of my favorite things about the place.
2. Nicknames. It can sometimes take weeks to learn someone's real name. Nicknames are often given in early childhood and used by friends, family, and everybody else. In many cases, the given name is only used with a stern, disciplinary tone.
3. Sugar. Sweet tea. Powdered lemonade. Off-brand corn syrup soda. And the most amazing to behold, a cup of coffee that has 5 or more TABLESPOONS of sugar.
4. Negative peer pressure. Its intense. In the suburbs there might be peer pressure for students to drink or use drugs or have sex, here the pressure is to smoke more pot at a younger age, the get as many girls pregnant as possible, and to intentionally do poorly in school.
5. Obama fashion. If I keep my eyes open at least once a day I can see someone in a t-shirt or some other item of clothing with the image of the President on it. Fantastic.

1. Home ownership. An overwhelmingly vast majority of the residents cannot afford to even consider buying a home. Residency can be very fluid as someone may live in 6 or more homes in a given year due to evictions, family disputes, employment situations, etc. The lack of home ownership allows rent to be inflated, local economics to be less stable, and holds individuals back from the benefits (both economic and personal) of having a place to set down roots.
2. Car ownership. The stats say one out of nine people here has a car. Getting to and from work is difficult when there is little work within walking range and our city's notably bad public transit system can sometimes require a 2 hour commute to travel 7 miles.
3. Grocery stores. Considering the above, combined with a lack of nearby grocery stores means that corner stores dominate the food market, and knowing this, they jack up their prices.
4. Banks. There are very few banks nearby, often workers will use a check cashing service for their paychecks and are charged ridiculous, abusive rates.

on a lighter note,

5. Clothes that fits. In the past, people who "know" fashion have told me I generally wear shirts and things that are too big for me. Here, I consistently feel that I am wearing embarrassingly tight clothing. If your shorts don't touch your shoes, they are probably too short.

OK, I hope this has provided a glimpse into my neighborhood. Hope all is well with you!



Shanti said...

Excuse me. As one of "those" people, I'd like to point out that the word "know" should not be in quotation marks. Ouch. What happened to all the props I got for making you look good?