not the mums

I live in a fast gentrifying neighborhood in Philadelphia. This form of gentrification is occurring as the small slice of white, middle class blocks keep expanding Northward. So it is not necessarily just young hipsters and it is not a first sighting of white folks.

The attitude I most attribute to gentrification is the suburban sense of entitlement. The notion that the individual good supersedes the group; even though cities are designed to cram everyone into small and close quarters – in this city of row houses that often means sharing walls with your neighbors. And yet people post signs about stolen flowers, accuse grand larceny of amazon boxes, and file noise complaints galore. Why don’t these people practice some self-care and move to the suburbs where they can have a fenced in yard and motion detector lights and maybe if they are rich enough, private security riding around in a golf cart.

Tonights example is a sign posted concerning stolen mums. Here is a reference picture of anyone else like me who has no idea what mums are. 

Now to the sign taped to the front of the building. And all the questions that is raises: does stole need to be underlined? maybe bold would be better? and why not type the note, now we can get an FBI handwriting expert to tell us just how entitled you feel you are. Is your only concern that they stole the mums with a frown, would a smile have made you feel better? Is this sign intended to shame the anonymous individuals who felt fine taking pots of flowers? or is to threaten the next person, because we must be suspicious of all?

But my absolute favorite part – the plot twist, the reason to tune in next week, the self-editing, the threat of revenge. Did you call the police on the offenders? Confront them on the street? Go to their house and steal something from their stoop? Why not post their faces to warn your fellow flower owners of this threat?  If they brought the flowers to their grandmother in the hospital or to their uncle’s gravesite, how would karma respond to that? If you believe in the notion of karma, why not that also if forgiveness, of selflessness, of generosity? Or at least simply having a sense of humor about life and living in a city that reflects the insane economic inequality we have allowed in this nation.

If need be, I will donate to you the $13 for new mums, I will go to Lowes and purchase the mums. You know what, you can have 3 mums. But when the first frost arrives in a few weeks, please do not curse the weather or threaten the water. Remember that life is a process of give and take, and that which we allow to bother us, to interrupt our flow, to make us sit down and write a nasty (although no curse words written out) note to then tape on our own home – this kind of anger is a poison you drink yourself. The greater good is just that – greater.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great piece, very insightful and, as another city-dweller, a relatable read. Life should not be interrupted by inconveniences and needless grudges, especially at the expense of others’ comfort and trust. Excellent and excited to read more!

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