Back then, $23000 bought you a 1200 square-foot house with cool limestone outer walls that I would press my body up against in the summer heat when I'd finish running through the sprinkler. My refined ear would count the seconds between screeching cars and the impact of the wrecks on South Lamar, like listening for thunder and lightening and attempting to gauge the speed and damage that had been done. Sometimes there was no impact, but sometimes, wailing sirens followed the hollow smack of metal. I would wonder who had been hurt and how badly -- morbid thoughts for an eight year old, but there they were -- and how their lives would be affected the next day. The romance of the nightly urban thunderstorms eventually wore off, and in the mid-90's my parents cashed out and we moved to a new neighborhood that was allegedly quieter. Perhaps it was suburbian sprawl or just our proximity to Mopac, but the din never seemed to subside.
With the crashing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I can't help but feel myself listening for the impact, straining to hear over all of the other background noises: rising gas prices, election cycles, Constitutional injustices, IED's exploding.
But maybe it's the cacophony of so many other fears and concerns that I cannot make out the audible crash. It's just an anticlimactic silent flash of lightning followed by no thunder, only the clattering of rain on the roof of my home that I rent in 78749.
Childhood. I never walked ten miles in the snow, uphill both ways. I never popped tar bubbles in the middle of a street sticky with fresh asphalt. I never washed my clothes by hands or harvested crops or slaughtered a pig for dinner. I tried to sell lemonade once but no one ever walked by, so I gulped down the juice and closed up shop.
I feel like my generation has been abandoned, raised halfway and tossed out of the nest into the dank undergrowth of mismanagement. We've got it all so terribly wrong, and we didn't even get to pick the wrong choice.
I've resigned myself to the fact that until I jump up several tax brackets, I will be banished to suburbia should I ever buy a house. 78704 might have raised me, but it will probably not be where I get to raise my children.
Coming to terms with that awareness is not easy. I feel myself braking, hard. This isn't a near miss. They're going to have to call 911 for this one. I hear the impact.