What’s Your Scene?

Yesterday I interviewed for a part-time job. I always seem to be working more than one job. This is probably because of my deeply instilled German workaholism, combined with Generation Y’s struggle for a reasonable standard of living in a shitty economy. But I digress. Anyway, I am a firm believer in not counting my chickens, etc., so I will refrain from divulging further information about the position until something actually happens with it.

Something I found interesting during the event: My interviewer said he has been in Charlotte for three weeks; he’s part of the corporate office, and the company is in the process of opening a new location in the area. He made some sweeping comment (with palpable negative undertones) about the “demographics” of the area and how they were not what he’d wanted. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but a day later it keeps bothering me. How can you visit an area for only three weeks and then utterly dismiss the people who live there? Such a comment may be rationalized by a backstory or a business strategy, but it also lightly smacks of -isms (racism, ageism, cultural bias if nothing else). It was an unfortunate thing to say, but if I take the job, at least I won’t be working directly for that guy.

Today, Creative Loafing published a blurb about Charlotte being one of the least hipster cities in America. I agree with this, and I find it somewhat disappointing. Whatever your feelings about the mustache-wearing, farmer’s-market-rummaging hipster, you have to admit that the art/design/indie scene in the CLT is truly stunted for a city of this size. It’s a damn shame. (Honestly, I think Design*Sponge’s Charlotte, NC City Guide mentions nearly all of those types of places. Before I moved here, I thought that was a sampler, a “best-of-the-best.” Nope, that’s pretty much an exhaustive–albeit excellent–list.) The funny thing is, though, that when I heard about this ridiculous ranking, I felt indignant. I felt defensive.  Of a city I have barely lived in for seven months! Like a good blogger, I decided to take this unusual feeling out of my body and put it on “paper” so that I can examine it more closely…

Why do I feel defensive? For all intents and purposes, I’m still a new resident. Upon further reflection, however, seven months is quite a bit longer than the three weeks my interviewer has lived here — and he’s confident that he knows “who” this city is. So maybe I’m justified in feeling like I understand something about this town, and in feeling like we’re being unfairly judged for our lack of walkable districts and vegan restaurants. “But wait!” I wanted to shout to no one in particular. “Charlotte’s a growing city, and most of the people here are transplants. I can count on one hand the number of native Charlotteans I’ve met since I’ve moved here! Doesn’t that mean the traditional way of life is going to change? Doesn’t that mean the dynamic will shift to something better? A new kind of city, where investment bankers and starving artists can live in relative peace and mutual distrust?” I believe it can and will happen. This city has so much history, but its current development is both astonishing and uplifting (if you can look past the traffic). :)

Well, I finally checked out the source material for CL’s “least hipster” post, and it comes from a real estate blog whose readers seem to be in search of a non-hipster, bohemian-artist-free community. Well, to each their own. I feel silly for being defensive when the ranking was actually meant to be a positive one. My reaction speaks volumes to me, however: I WANT more locally sourced, independent coffee shops here in town. More bicycle lanes. More hipster philosophy (although I could do without the hipster style, haha). But, I swear I’m not a hipster.

On a related note, elephantjournal has a funny, satirical article about how to tell whether you’re a hipster or not. Apparently, denying it is a telltale sign! Uh-oh. B qualifies as one, too; he refuses to get a tattoo because they’re too mainstream (That’s #9!). Or, in his words, “because tattoos are the purview of 16-year-old girls.” Ah, well, we all know labels mean jack. It’s good for a laugh, that’s all.

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