Pieces of Paradise, Paved in Time.
It is a strange matter to me that the middle class is predicted to disappear. I am aware of the fact that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer in this postmodern economy.
Where I live, however, the suburbs are still thriving, and the Upper-Middle-Class is utterly ubiquitous; McMansions expanding without regard, into the farms and woodlands of rural America. They burst out from each other each year after year, forming clusters of newfangled suburbs.
In between the city and the country, there always has been the suburbs. I grew up in the sticks, about 30 minutes from the major city. The suburbs have certainly always existed but it seems to have given way to new breeds of them.
Designer homes and gated communities are booming here. The old fashioned suburb is now on steroids. If not them, it’s the purposely old-fashioned looking yet brand spanking new “walking community.”
To me, this is more like the “walking dead” of unconscious consumers, built within or around the modern day version of the King’s Court, known as the shopping center. That particular appeal draws the irresponsible and unknowing hobby-shoppers and zombies of Abercrombie (if that is still actually a mall-trend, as it certainly was when I was on a similar pursuit; and perhaps I am showing my age here?).
The market-trap of the seemingly sweet but sinister little city on a bulldozed-hill, whose consumer is simultaneously king and peasant; and his crown is the amount of the dollar put forth, which he wears with his pride and for his convenience. It is also the same thing which enslaves him.
His dream is the menacing void of truth within his hollow shell of a so-called community; his castle which sits adjacent to his neighbor’s of the almost-exact same quality; the exact same hub of a house, with a varied shade of paint to differentiate him, stacked neatly upon the next—so on and so forth.
These houses sit squarely and neatly, upon lush lawns of green envy; always greener on the other side and manicured by hands of immigration, whose rights they oppose, yet whose jobs they impose. The mass produced and class infused fabrication of homes, built from ticky-tacky materials with purpose to showcase the shiny cars that are far too large or clean to be on the back roads of rural life beside them. And rarely are they found on the jagged city streets behind them. Those places, just beyond the perimeter of likeness, they will never venture.
Despite their hobbies or their statuses in class or on Facebook, they do not venture nor do they seek adventure. This is because they are always remaining, settling (and enslaving) themselves. Imprisoned yet blissfully bereft in the suburbia of outdoor malls and indoor excuses for exercise machines. They prefer the perfectly pretty park systems and outdoor patio dining reservations. They sold their natural state for doggie bags of wildflowers and exhibits of unkempt trees that hover over well beaten paths.
These folks are bubbly and sweet. They flash smiles of perfect white teeth at the next neighbor of similar status, as he mimics the same, but is judging, competing, and one-upping; seldom is he collaborating. These giant houses, or sometimes trendy and emotionally flat condos or flats, make up a grand scale of perfectionism and progression. This kind of institution employs families and raises children.
These innocent and precious children who are given the world. They are also given every talent, tutor, sport, hobby and material known to man. But they are without virtue or respect or knowledge of life. These kids who will grow into citizens of the states, but will quickly wither away from themselves, and rise to the occasion, devoid of common sense, common courtesy and common decency. Unaware and unapologetic, they will fraternize on networks and socialize as avatars and compete with those most like themselves. Their success will inhibit their souls and they will become unable to prioritize on an internalized life. This is the potential of the next generation.
And for now, these giant homes within private sanctions are only provoking the mimicry of the outsiders, which encourages the obscene onslaught of sameness, on so many levels.
The oppressed urbanites seeking refuge from inner-cities are rising honorably from their poverty and yet sold into the greatest illusion of our time: the idea that money can buy happiness. These people have given into the idea that the image of who they are is their actual worth.
There also are the white-trash wannabes who wander aimlessly without wonder, and who flaunt ignorantly with upgrades of bright yellow hummers, jacked up trucks, indoor tanning beds and outdoor pools. They are blatantly starving for truth and knowledge and a purpose.
And then, the rural offspring: ungrateful and bored with his lot, becoming complacent in the trees and on the pastures, therefore selling them as if they were his burden, for the glamorous life of leisure. These folks kill animals for sport or sometimes for meat, but never out of real necessity. This group is hoping for a reality TV gig, though they know nothing of responsibility or the meaning of “Dynasty.”
And the millions of lost sheep who quietly fit in with the others, who are always inadequate and aimless, working only for the weekend to max out more credit cards and lose themselves in designer labels. These remnant souls are sheepishly moving toward the black hole of promotional dissimulation; giving rise to the glut of massive attacking, tract-home invasions.
As the rolling hills of green farmland are scooped up by grimy investors for the sake of perfection, to put up stoplights and pave the way for cyclist sidewalks, the dense woodlands are shredded by machines. All for the purpose of neighborhoods that barely know their neighbors in spite of living smack dab on top of them. With their pompous village labels, the individual signs of designer neighborhoods will differentiate the degree of money. Big names that resemble those of expensive cars, the audaciously labeled new-found plots. These bold faced brick houses, with their expensive curb appeal, flaunting bricks up front and plastic siding in the back.
The home “owner” with his thousands of square feet on an eighth of an acre and a million dollar mortgage will vainly reflect his earning. His ability to succeed in his society is a cause of his thinking for himself. Or is it truly for himself? Is there perhaps a greater motive? But nonetheless, he is selfish in his thinking of himself. Never is he thinking for the other ones. Does he even realize his cause or his effect? The very lack of affection or connection to anything other than himself is the apparent cause. Despite a belief system which connects to a “higher power” this person will not connect with humanity or environment. This cause and effect becomes his programmed purpose in life, as he and his neighbors will systematically flee their giant homes to their giant jobs within the highrise corporate parks at rush hour.
All the while, the desperate and determined turtles make their slow and hopeful commutes across the pavement; and the myriad of deer watch skittishly on roadsides, gawking at the parade of homes that once was their own. All that is left behind are the ghosts of the simple life that was, in the postal codes that sit like ducks, trading the smells of honeysuckle and pine trees for the pungent whiffs of road kill and exhaust of the new Hibachi grill.
Built up of sleek roads and manicured shrubs, the steady stream of parkway traffic, commemorating names of farmers who once tilled the soil, also died in the nick of progress. The two lane roads and one horse towns are slowly succumbing and somehow glorifying the “uptown” which exists between the two extremes of urban and rural. No room for the city mouse or the country mouse, as he is mutated into a rodent, somewhat like a hamster; spinning nightly on the wheel of progression and impression. He is gorging daily on the excess within his fat and swollen cheeks. This uppity town of middle class men and women who are terrified of downtown crime and poverty; and too good, lazy and unskilled for survival on the farm or in the woods.
The suburban sprawl of conspicuous consumerism and corporate jungles await us as the end of individualism is nigh. The dawn of ever-present and boring, unthinking America, all one-in-the-same will destroy us; or worse: it will let us live long and thrive for the greater good of greed!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Rochelle Loren
Editor: Travis May