Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The outsiders

On Saturday, in an effort to beat the heat, Grey and I contacted our apartment complex manager and asked for access to the pool. The property has purchased by the current management company a little over a year ago, resulting in everything being renovated from the interiors of each unit to the grounds and the common areas. Due to this the pools haven't been available until recently, and with temperatures reach to the 90s Fahrenheit (30s Celsius) access has been almost a requirement.

For a little over an hour we had the pool to ourselves, with the Beats splashing around, Grey and me getting in a couple of laps and all of us cooling off. But during that time, I noticed that most of the neighbor kids were peeking out at us, looking at this family they both didn't know and didn't trust.

It's been a weird experience to move into a complex that is actively undergoing transition. Those moving in that look like working professionals do well with Grey and me, but winning over those that have resided here prior to new management has been a bit of a struggle. To date I am on friendly terms with at least two families that have resided here for close to 20 years, with them helping me relearn Spanish (English is their second language) and slowing coming to trust Grey and me. But other neighbors still see us as outsiders who are threatening their previous way of life. Between porch piracy (which we've now resolved with getting packages delivered to Grey's work), some minor vandalism (resolved by installing a security camera), some intrusion onto our designated parking spaces (resolved following asking people to move, which has left them dumbfounded) to simply using the green-space in the evenings, it's become clear that some here don't want us.

The hard thing about all of this is I get where they are coming from. Grey and I are part of a wave of change that is happening, marking a change in life for some of these residents. But what isn't talked about openly is that though we may be seen as the problem, the truth is those that are driving forces purposefully have remained removed and invisible. And they don't like it one bit when I draw attention to them.

The bee hive incident is something the neighbors still talk about, giving those that don't want us here pause. Apparently many have never seen such a rapid response from management to a situation that was impacting their homes and I'm starting to have some neighbors approach me with questions about other maintenance issues (like not having running water). In addition, due to my continued conversations with these two families, word is getting around about the work I do. To say there's curiosity is an understatement.

Given all of this, there's currently an element of frustration with home. Grey and I always intended this space to be transitional; a West Coast landing zone. That said, my new-found goal is to win a few more of my neighbors over, hopefully breaking some of the misconceptions about white Americans while opening the lines of communication. It's too important not to try.


  1. Any neighborhood would be lucky to have a good witch like you :-)

  2. As I've only just read your bee post, I've been remiss at keeping up to date with your posts. But I wonder. Sure, maybe the local drug dealer doesn't want you there. But maybe the other people are just a bit scared of you - seeing someone confident, professional, and different, might just make them feel insecure, and even threatened. After all, change is scary, even though they - like you new friends - might welcome the change. I hope so. Because as you say, it's too important not to try.

    Also - good for you in getting all those changes, including getting into the swimming pool!


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