A workmate of mine was talking about how happy he was that he and his young family had moved into a rapidly gentrifying pocket of Coburg. His neighbors and the people in that area were good people.
I knew what he meant. Pockets like this have appeared all over inner Melbourne. They are filled with white young educated left-of-centre middle-class professionals who have started a family. In those neighborhoods, they grow vegies, share their extra produce, have a little free library somewhere, plant out their verge gardens and have kids that pop into each others houses. It’s entirely possible that they have cargo bikes which one of them use to ferry their kids to and from school.
Listening to him talk about his community and how it was changing the school population of Coburg high, I wondered what it would actually feel like to be living somewhere where most people not only shared my values and my socio-economic class but also my lifestyle and appearances. I wondered how it feel to have that level of connection with so many people. I wondered how it would feel to belong.
I’ve written about belonging/not belonging within this blog and in other writings. It’s not as much of a big deal now that I’m closer to fifty that I’d like to be. To a certain degree, I’ve found my own community but it’s a community brought as much together by their rejection of the wider mainstream community as it is by their shared interests and activities: outdoor music festivals and the parties that happen around them.
But it isnt the same.