I was speaking with a friend today about our move to Hilltop and all the emotinos it’s bringing up in me. She mentioned that she drove by the house, thought it was cute but worried for us in the neighborhood. Funny that this was her first set of thoughts about the house. I keep driving around the area,  just checking out the houses and getting my bearings for the neighborhood. I find myself looking at the cars, the types of cars seem to signify the quality of the street (so goes my rationale). In the past I’ve looked at cars as well as upkeep on the houses when we’ve been searching for a new home. This is our third house and while we look around, scouting out an unfamiliar area, I rationalize that the cars parked in front of the homes say a lot about the type of area we are in. Most of my reason has been because, in the past, we’ve bought a home in order to sell it soon after so I was always trying to look for curb appeal and resell-ability; would someone else want to buy in this area?

If I was unfamiliar with an area I had to do my best to take it all in and decide if this was going to be a place that other people wanted to live. I’m not an expert on why people buy the homes that they do but I do know when buying a home the three main things you look for are 1. Location 2. Location 3. Location. So in my detective way I have found myself sniffing out an area and looking for visual cues on what will sell again. It’s sort of trained my eye and now I can’t seem to stop noticing cars when I drive around Hilltop. There’s the 77 Nova with a brown door and yellow body (I actually had one of those as my first car- haha). There’s the Jeep Cherokee that was uqibitous in the 90’s. There’s a lime green beetle with a vase for flowers in their car. Who needs to put fresh cut flowers in their car? There’s a shopping cart! And another one!

I often find myself judging the area based on the quality of the vehicles parked on the street. If it’s got some up to date transport it must be up and coming. Right? If all the cars look unkept then the neighborhood but be unkept. Right? Well there is some truth to that way of thinking but it’s all a personal judgement that I do inside my head to scope out whether or not I feel clean, secure and and justified where I live with my little kids. I’m sure it’s something we all do without thinking about it but I’m very aware how much I’m doing it as I drive around my new house. There’s a 2008 minivan. Must be a stable family with wee little white kids. Ahhhh….my people. I guess it’s just little pockets of fear that wants to stick with people I’m familiar with that still reside in my core. I’m sure more will come up as I live in one of the most diverse areas in all of Tacoma but I am committed to engaging with the unfamiliar emotions, fears and cultural stereotypes that come into my mind by habit.

The irony is that I actually like the diversity. I’m comforted by the colour and the culture of Hilltop. I find communities that aren’t strictly caucasian to be very welcoming and hospitable rather than standoffish the way a lot of suburban areas can be  can be. Yet I still find places in myself where I don’t feel like I relate or understand ethnicity. I try to but there’s a lot of areas where I feel lost and incredibly white around people of color, sort of like the white girl trying to find her groove at a good dance party, but failing miserably.  I was raised poor but I wasn’t raise a poor, black child (I just had to throw in a bit of Steve Martin there) so I am trying to relate but still feel I have a lot to learn. I do know that, regardless of our racial or cultural differences, we all want the same things in life. If we have kids we all want the same things for them, even the roughest of parents really want their kids to succeed and want the highest for them. Don’t believe me? Try messin’ with Shaquita’s kids and see how fast she lays into you!

It’ll be interesting when the weather warms up and I start to bring my kids to the parks and out to community events. That’s one thing I’m  looking forward to. I’m looking forward to meeting people in my community and making friends as we push our kids on the swings.  Out in the suburbs people just sort of keep to themselves but in the city there’s usually so many community events that bring everyone out pot-lucking. Sometimes these hard areas bring people together in ways that are unique to any other setting I’ve ever lived in and I think our little world is going to become very large in just a short span of time.


2 thoughts on “Cars

  1. we live in the hood too, albeit a very different one. what i find the hardest is the LACK of diversity of economics… everyone is multi-generationally poor and sometimes the burden of that shows itself on a neighborhood. sidebar: my neighbor drives a leased black bmw… looks nice but not quite representative…

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