Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hedge Fund Traders and Nightmares, Revisited

"Good Greed" coming to our fair nabe?
Photo Stolen from 20th Century Fox via NY Times

PapaCole and MamaCole were in town this past weekend so that meant a [woohoo!] date night for Citymouse and Mrs. Mouse. We decided to try a new place in the neighborhood that we had heard about. One of our playground friends had told us that the food was really good and the prices exceptionally low, either because they were trying to grow the business or they simply didn’t know better. Either way, we were all over it.

It was true: excellent food, very reasonable prices, and outstanding service. A very nice experience and of course Citymouse is far too savvy to say where the place is, lest the hungry masses from Manhattan overwhelm the place. It’s a sad refrain of the City-savvy: when you find a good thing, keep your mouth shut.

Sadly, that ship already seems to have sailed. Notice that I didn't say anything about the atmosphere. As dinner progressed—the mouse family has an early bed time—the place filled up and we started to look around and be surprised and then horrified by what we saw. The place was full of suits and starched shirts—you know the blue ones with the white collars. I would not have been surprised to see Michael Douglas walk in to reprise his role in Wall Street.

And this on a Saturday!

Even more frightening were the trophy wives/girlfriends/escorts. All bleached out, made up, scarey thin and dressed to the nines. Yikes!

I should have known better. After all, the woman who recommended the place to me is married to a Wall Street type, though she’s a very down to earth. They’re both perfectly nice actually. But man, has this neighborhood really changed!

Let’s be honest though: every wave of immigrants tries to keep the next group out. My ranting is really not any more excusable than the ignorant mutters of "diablo blanco" I occasionally hear on the Southside. Still we’re getting it from both sides: Sebastian’s school wants desperately to stay frozen in a romantic Latinized past yet milk is pushing $10 a gallon at the local grocery stores. It’s an unpleasant way to be squeezed.

That’s the reality of the City though. Better to get past the prejudice and ignorant assumptions and treat each individual and every experience with a fresh mind and an openness to the good in each. That restaurant was excellent and we’ll go back. My friend is sweet and I would be glad to see her husband more if he didn’t work so much. And no one is asking me to leave my home. The rest is just stuff I have to get over. The world is too small to live any other way.

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