Chris Collin got in touch with us again to share another poignant story about living in the Mission. It’s just as gripping (and heartbreaking) as his last tale of Randy the wanderer, but this time focuses on some complicated gentrification issues:
We were thoroughly friendly—even jokey and playful at first—but the guys just didn’t like us. Maybe we were interlopers on a block they’d dominated for years. Maybe our earnestness was annoying: our sputtering veggie oil car next to their monster V8s, our cheerful cat Biggie gazing innocently at their snarling dogs. Whatever it was, they unwelcomed us with glares and mutterings that only grew bolder over time. Sometimes we’d come home to a broken fence or a bottle smashed in our pathway, the stares from the stoop daring us to comment. Increasingly we didn’t. They had gangbanger friends, spoke intimately of violence. And, in my head, I turned muscle-bound and ridiculous, raining righteousness down upon every insult.