Daily Archives: March 19, 2011

Urban Decay

I came up with the idea for this story, surprisingly enough, while I was driving around earlier this week. I was excited, because I had the idea to write this from the second person perspective. Not I, not he/she, but you. It’s a perspective you almost never see (outside Goosebumps “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories) and for good reason, it’s really hard to do.

I’ve also noticed that my stuff has been on the heavy/depressing side lately, and I wanted a bit of a change of pace.



You’re driving down a road and it becomes immediately clear that you do not belong here. Your car, while reliable, is slowly falling apart and being passed by people driving Porches and Ferrari’s. You even swear that you just got passed by a Rolls Royce.

You look around and see you’re surrounded by houses that should really be called “mini-mansions.” They are built from the brick of Depression Era houses; also mansions, tore down and rebuilt anew.

You’re driving down a road in which the medium income for residents is somewhere between $800,000 and $1.2 million a year. Driving along, you think to yourself how you’re almost entirely sure you won’t make that much in a lifetime, let alone year after year.

To your left is a private golf course that you have no hopes of entering.

But anyways, you continue to drive down the road, which begins to bend. And after the bend you notice that things aren’t quite the same.

The road, which was pristine and smooth as silk behind you, is beginning to show some wear and tear. It’s not horrible, but it is noticeable.

You look around and see you’re surrounded by houses that could be called “functional.” They are all built from the same cookie-cutter pattern, a sea of clones. The cars, like the homes, can be called “functional.”

There are no golf courses here. You can picture yourself starting a family somewhere very similar to this place, but not yet.

And so, you continue to drive down the road. On your right you pass a lake, in which you can see litter on its frozen beach.

The road has deteriorated severely. Potholes plague the street every few feet. After hitting a few, you curse to yourself and begin to swerve around the holes like orange caution cones.

There are no homes here that you can see. Plenty of shops, sure, and some places you frequent occasionally, like that cafe on your left.

A bit further still, and you can see places of residency. Apartment complex after complex, walls of them on either side. You notice how the signs are all written in two, three or even more languages.

You can’t imagine seeing that near the private golf course.

The condition of the road has become completely unbearable. It has turned into one gigantic pothole. The rattling of your car forces you to continuously turn up your radio, to drown out the grinding noise. The vibrations cause the panel on your steering wheel which houses the airbag to fall off. It dangles by a single wire, for the horn. You quickly tape it up again at a red light.

And finally you turn off this road and into your own apartment. You enter and find the four flights of stairs more exhausting than usual.

You walk inside your own apartment room, which is a mess. You see dishes in the sink, overflowing onto the counter, neglected for days, maybe even weeks. You pass the dishes and open the fridge. There isn’t much food, but you weren’t looking for food. You were looking for a beer.

You take a drink and look out the window. You see the skyline of the city begin to light up right in front of your eyes, in the evening air; the city coming to life. You smile, musing on the beauty of it.

You are home.