Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Obverse Viewpoint, or, Asheville's Getting Too Damn Big

I just went for a long walk. Here I was, last night all happy about the multicultural growing vibrant nature of my city, today is a beautiful day, I'm taking Theo down to the dog park.

Where, of course, he was viciously attacked by a couple of dogs within 30 seconds.

I'm glad he has so much fur around his neck, so nothing broke the skin, but I'm still shaking, and I'm mad at the world. 5 years ago, I went to the park all the time. You used to be able to let your dog off leash there, it was usually mostly deserted, and the few people who were there were friendly and pleasant. But Asheville is growing, growing, growing - so fast that I think we've passed the tipping point. The progression at the park has been like this: 5 years ago, friendly people, dogs loose in the whole park. 3 years ago, leash law enacted, the park is no longer so pleasant, but they put up a dog park, and that was nice. Friendly people, friendly dogs. Today (and the last time I went there too, about 6 months ago)the park is packed. People are surly and don't meet your eyes. The dog park is overrun, and a lot of the people are not controlling their dogs at all. Theo has always gotten along well with all other dogs - but not there. I think it was the same goddamn dog as last time, too, and I'm going, probably unfairly, to blame the spaced out dreadlocked hippies in a stupor along the side of the fence.

I feel like I'm turning into a Republican or something, I know it's bullshit for me to say, hey, after I moved here they should have locked the gates, but I feel that way. Things that used to be great about Asheville, like the river park, like Downtown After Five, like Bent Creek, and like just being downtown, are not fun anymore and it's because they are insanely overcrowded. It bums me out. That, and the tourists, and the gentrification, are making me miserable.

Yesterday some tourists downtown asked me where they could go for a picnic. This was a bit strange, since it was freezing and miserable outside, but whatever. They wanted a picnic table. I could have sent them to Pritchard Park, in the heart of downtown, but I knew if I did they would be hassled by mashies. So I sent them to the river park, a long drive for them (hope my directions worked) but safer, all in all. That sucks - it sucks that I felt that I couldn't direct people to the heart of downtown. A few years ago I would have had no qualms about it.

And, of course, a few years ago you could afford to live in Asheville on the salary you could make in Asheville. Now, as the retirees and their ilk come in droves, buying up houses for more money than they're worth, living off money from elsewhere, those of us who need to make a living here are having a harder and harder time. This is one of the things that killed Charleston as a viable place to live, years ago killed Aspen and Santa Fe and Taos - and I hate watching it kill Asheville. Argh.

And, to the asshole with the aggessive dog at the dog park, you suck, I hate you, and you are a shithead. Keep your dog at home if he can't play nice with others. Also, though, thanks to whoever it was who pulled him off my dog, since I was too afraid to reach into a dog fight.


no one at all said...

Wow. That strikes home. It has been so sad watching this place slide towards mediocrity. I am very confused about what to do now. There are still a lot of exceptional people drawn here, but so are the retirees and the yuppies from elsewhere. In the end I live here because I can talk to random people and they know what I mean. This is becoming harder. Seeing the pop-up boxes that constitute modern housing being put up, seeing Starbucks and Subway downtown, tired of the street kids, etc. I feel like the next move almost has to be out of the country at this point. . Canada just lowered their entry standards, but do I run?

jay said...

I'm right there with ya. It's been eight years down here for me, and I've seen so many changes for the worse. I left a place (Delaware) for the same reasons: unrestrained development and cultural homogenization.
Is Woodfin worth taking over by we free-thinkers?

whtyford said...

and that...friends and ones who love why i moved to Panama. cmon down, there's not a stoplight within a hundred miles and beer is .75. i double dog dare ya....