My (Broken) Hip Neighborhood

I’m not quite sure when it happened. Whether it snuck up on me all of a sudden or gradually yet systematically took me down, I couldn’t tell you. Were there signs and I just didn’t notice them? No bloody idea. All I know is that there is no going back now.

Because somehow when I wasn’t looking, I crossed the threshold from being young and (arguably) hip to being that 30-something lady who refers to every male singer under the age of 20 as Justin Bieber.

And it’s only getting worse. I only recognized about half the people featured at the VMA’s this year. Eating dinner any time after 8 p.m. is now simply out of the question. I don’t know if his name is Tatum Channing or Channing Tatum and about half the time it doesn’t matter because I mistakenly refer to him as John Cena anyway. You can’t convince me that Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato aren’t the same person. My interest in the weather has piqued to all-time high. And I was firmly on the side of Hannah’s parents when they financially cut her off in Season One of “Girls.”

But nowhere is this transition to the “out of touch” crowd more evident than in my reaction to the fact that my neighborhood is in danger of becoming hip. See, right now, no one in Greater Boston knows where I live. I know this for a fact because I have had the same conversation with every single cabbie for the past two and a half years:

Cabbie: “Where to?”

Aprill: “Ten Hills.”

Cabbie: “Where?”

Aprill: “Ten Hills. In Somerville.”

Cabbie: “OK…say it again?”

Aprill: “Ten. Hills.”

Cabbie: “I don’t know where this is.”

Aprill: “…(gives general directions)…”

Cabbie: “Huh. I’ve been driving cabs in this city for 45 years and I’ve never heard of this place. What’s it called again?”

Aprill: “…(bangs head repeatedly on window)…”

And yet, despite this regular hassle, I love my lame, tucked away, little neighborhood that is filled with retirees, nerdy grad students and that guy down the street with all the outdoor cats.

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I love that it’s eerily quiet at 9 p.m. and the loudest noises we have to put up with are dogs barking and that one car alarm that goes off if someone on the block sneezes. And most importantly, I love that I can afford the rent and can afford the few non-cool restaurants nearby.

So how surprised was I to find out that Somerville as a whole is becoming too hip for its own good. And judging by the massive amount of construction work happening across the highway, soon even my lame neighborhood will be adjacent to a bunch of shops, bars, restaurants and apartments. Possibly even a tapas place or two. TAPAS! The ultimate sign that gentrification is looming (seriously, a tapas place once opened in Brooklyn and look what happened).

I don’t want to live in the next Williamsburg. I’m old now. I don’t want all my neighbors to be young, thin hipsters. I’m currently a waddling preggo in stretchy pants. And in the ultimate sign of, if not my actual age of 32, than at least my current mental age of around 68 or so, I don’t want change.

And with that last statement, I think my transformation is now complete.

Now get off my lawn, you damn kids, before I call the cops.

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