Electric Forest being a music festival held in Michigan, when I was there for a weekend at the end of June I could certainly get an eye for those who were local residents. This was primarily through apparel, mostly t-shirts (though at one point a kid nudged me in the crowd during the middle of a set and said, “Hey. Remember POGS?” when I said “Of course.” he handed me one with the state outline & capital of Michigan on it, and turned and walked away. #Only90sKidsWillRemember). My favorite shirt slogan that I spotted was a simple one: ‘DETROIT HUSTLES HARDER.’
Bold claim, appointing a city such a superlative. But you know what? Pretty sure they do. I did not visit Detroit on my trip, but have spoken with people who have… and as far as I can tell, it presents a rare example of when the media doesn’t grossly exaggerate the bleak socioeconomic makeup of a troubled metropolis. That is some real shit out there.
Occasionally the topic of relative economic struggle will come up with my roommate as we talk about where we’re at, where we’ve come from, where we’re heading. We see ourselves through the refractive lens of ‘living here, but not from here.’ As this great nation continues to tear itself asunder through a widening earnings (and ability to earn) gap, it becomes a more rooted reality that “The American Dream” of jumping up an income bracket or several is not one that will be possible in my career, despite my hardest hustle (my hardest hustle that doesn’t involve selling my soul, anyway).
And so it’s really from an outsider’s perspective that I “feel the weight” of hardships endured by my fellow southern Nutmeggers (Connecticut, aka The Nutmeg State). The kinds of problems that people with too much money create for themselves are staggering. It would be an interesting read were I to interview all the nannies/house managers I’ve met in Fairfield County and catalog the shit they deal with on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, while I may find that the lust for heinous excess clashes with the mindful approach to living that my recovery program has guided me towards…I also have to be grateful that this is my lot, and that I’m not trying to get/stay sober on the hardened streets of a steely city like Detroit.
Connecticut is pretty clearly a stepping stone in my mind, and I’ve stated as much in writing before. But more than a stepping stone, it’s a seaside cove that can harbor me as long as I need before heading out to navigate uncharted waters.
It’s all relative; it’s all perspective. Nahmean?