Dear Gentrified Street,
First, let me apologise for losing touch with you. I moved away to that other town. Things were never the same between us. Weekends weren't ever going to be enough and a long distance relationship just didn't seem authentic.
Walking down you the other day, I couldn't believe how much you've changed. I guess time will do that. How long has it been? Two or three years? I remember how we would see each other every workday and how you would constantly offer up a fun new food offering every month. That was when you were just an awkward teen. Now look at you! All grown up.
I honestly didn't think this is who you'd become. I guess I should have known better. Just take your cousin a few streets over. The same thing happened to him. I remember it like it was yesterday, although it was the early 2000s and everyone was getting around with faux-hawks and listening to My Chemical Romance on their iPods (they were like an iPhone you couldn't text, call or booty-call from). One day he was all cool and grungy, filled with artists and activists and the next he had a Grill'd. Bloody Grill'd. They ruin everything. I see you have one too now. And a Coles. Once Aldi moves in its all over. You may as well pull on your Country Road slacks and start listening to ABC Radio National.
Did you know you are now shorthand for a type of urban young person? "Oh" they say down where I live now "I can't stand when those Gentrified Steet scenesters come down to the beach and think it's the city. No you can't have a single farm origin, hand-milked, kale smoothie! This is Beachside. We eat sharks, bro!"
From what I've seen though, it's not the indie wankers that are ruining you but the minted bankers. When 6pm at Coles becomes a cesspool of corporates getting supplies to take up to their human-filing-cabinet-in-the-sky apartment, you know that something is wrong. Once you reverberated with the sound bleed of live bands all night long, now all you hear is the collective overtime tappings of 2,000 keyboard warriors.
Look, you do look nice. You've shaved your legs and learnt how to dress since we last caught up. Your shopfronts are so on-trend. You even smell different. Still, I'll always think of you when I catch a whiff of rotting vegetables, stale alcohol and the subtle top note of diesel.
Things change and I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Of course your burritos now have quinoa in them...and are vegan...and 110% recyclable...with all profits going to a local collective committed to restoring the habitat of a local native creek frog. And it is great that your median house priced has increased 400% in the last year. I guess now you'll be able to afford to re-open that school you shut down in the 90s for offspring of all those nearby Gen Xers living near you for 'the lifestyle'.
But I can't help but miss who you were, what we had and the thrill that came from walking down you at night. It would instantly make a person four times more cool, just for being there, but also four times more likely to be the victim of a serious crime. I hear that the only crimes committed on you now are against fashion, when the corporates swap their suits for casual clothes on the weekends.
I promise I'll still visit from time to time - at least now I know the coffee options are better.