LIFE AS AN EAST-ENDER

by Steve Clem on July 6, 2011

The last two weeks or so, I am now officially an EastEnder.

It’s been a bit of a culture shock, but in a good way.

I have been very happy to drive down the street and see stores and shops owned by moms and pops, and not a major corporation.

It has been refreshing to see the diversity – economically, socially, racially – in my former western burb, everyone pretty much was 1) rich, 2) white, and 3) Republican.

I have nothing against rich, white Republicans. I used to be one (well except the rich part). But I do have something against my boys thinking that’s the reality of the world.

This new world I’m living in, just 30 minutes from my old world, is like a clean canvas waiting for the boys and I to paint our own masterpiece upon it.

We’re already developing some new traditions. Trips to The Clemcuzzi¬©, grabbing a bite to eat at a Mexican restaurant without the word “Bell” in it, or just sitting on our first floor patio instead of our third floor balcony, putting our bare feet in the grass and enjoying the weather.

And even our family cat has adjusted. She went from a wide-eyed wanderer, sniffing every last corner, to now lounging near the open screen door, letting the sun beat down on her while the birds land nearby to unsuccessfully taunt her.

And the gas station attendant near my apartment already knows me. Tonight I pulled in to fill up my tank, and had already started pumping when I read the sign that says “Please Pre-Pay after 5 p.m.” Whoops!

I went in to pay and grab a few snacks for the boys, and apologized to him for not pre-paying. “Oh no, sir, I know you! You can do that anytime, anytime. No problem.”

This isn’t a slight of my old digs. I have plenty of great friends, as do my kids, back that way.

But right now, it feels pretty damn good to be an EastEnder.

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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