This town in suffocating me. I’ve lived here since 1997; when I was more idealistic, when the draw of a burgeoning art and music scene and a liberal AF college was simply too much for a displaced suburban gal to resist. The streets downtown were replete with hipsters and students. I was proud to call Olympia my home.
Fast forward twenty years. My parents visited for Christmas and we showed them Rainy Day Records and walked over to our favorite indie book store. We rounded the corner onto 4th, and with a deep sense of repulsion and humiliation, noted that the whole sidewalk was smeared with shit. A tweaker emerged from the alley and said, “MAN, watch out, there’s fucking shit all over the place”. “Thank you!” chirped my mom. But really, it was horrible and stomach turning and I couldn’t believe my houseguests had to witness such depravity. My mom thanked the tweaker and we zigzaged down the sidewalk pretending not to notice the sickly sweet smell.
Oly has changed beyond recognition. Cute little boutiques spring up downtown, but the more they try to clean it up, the more n’er do wells flock to the previously pristine streets. Despite having put sharps containers in every public bathroom, dirty rigs still litter the streets. Geoff and I recently saw a tweaker dragging a wooden cross down 5th–it was as big as he was, and he had put wheels on the bottom, which, believer or not, I feel was cheating. He had it over one shoulder like Christ himself…after dragging it a few blocks, he stopped, used a bike lock to affix it to a no parking sign, and ducked into a divey bar for some spirits.
Now, I appreciate the weird and downtrodden, but I must say that things here have really beyond what i can handle. I make eye contact at the junkies that scream at me to give them a cigarette (I don’t have any! so it’s not like I can just pull one out of my ass!). I shy away from aggressive panhandlers, being as I also never have any cash. I’m sickened by their desperation, and angered because I know all they want is a bag of dope.
All I know is that I have to get out. Leaving this town scares the fuck out of me. I’m hesitant to leave this nice apartment, we moved here planning to raise our children here and stay long term. Despite this complex being income restricted, it really us a nice place complete with wood floors and a spacious living room. I have this fear that if I leave this place, I’ll be giving up my baby dreams. It makes me so nervous that I’ve been prescribed tranquilizers just so I can barely get by and refrain from lashing out at my loving husband.
And I’m sick of these years of nothing but bad luck. Our luck has to change at some point…doesnt it??