Are people my age allowed to have fun in this town anymore?
Now this could be a 1/3 life crisis thing, with me turning 33 (or as I like to say, thirty-free), but something deeper is happening on the Westside. Something far worse, and sadly out of my control.
The aliens have landed, colonized, and have officially taken over. They even renamed our beloved sand: Silicon Beach.
Tech geeks, turned superheroes, turned super villains overnight. A town so deeply rooted in the art of fun and the fun of art, slowly dissipating to this silicon sludge. This, “too-cool-for-school” poison that has infiltrated the border along the beach, most terrifyingly personified by the infiltration of this filth found on Abbot Kinney. A street that once symbolized the heart of Venice, named after its founder, has since transformed to this new age Rodeo Drive. You almost have to fit the rich hipster dress code just to be seen walking past the overpriced retail outfits that have quickly replaced the long standing staples of the street that could no longer keep up with the egregious rent spikes forced upon them by the economics of supply and demand.
Five plus years ago, I welcomed the gentrification. I thought Venice could use a little touch up. The streets were rampant with homeless, who, on the surface, I don’t have much of a problem with, until they turn dangerous. And they did. Multiple times. At least in my little Venice bubble. What I didn’t want, nor could anticipate, was an entire facelift.
Complaining about the Silicon Beach wave is nothing new. But what may have slightly gone unnoticed, with their rise to power at the expense of the locals being forced east in a form of perverse reverse manifest destiny, is this town’s fun being torn down with it. Its flare. Its spirit. Its refuge from reality. You can still feel it on the boardwalk strip, but it has been mainly relegated to the teens, the performers, the drifters, the tourists, who come from all over the globe, that would never know the difference.
But if you’ve been around the past decade to watch your increased rent price you out of the entire Marina 90292 zip, Venice and Santa Monica being taken over by kids in their 20s making well into six figures for the Googles and the Snapchats of the world, and landlords opting for short term instead of long term leasing to try to keep up, regular locals like us, trying to keep up with the Joneses, now have to ride bikes form Mar Vista, or Westchester, or West LA to get that ocean breeze we used to willingly walk to each day. God forbid we get pushed so far we have to call the other side of the 405 our home. The line of demarcation used to be Lincoln.
I saw somewhere that the 60s generation might be the last generation where people were really free and true to themselves to have actual fun. We have quickly let technology turn us into robots instead. And it’s getting exponentially worse each passing year.
I was disgusted by how many people had their phone in their hands, up to their face, eyes pierced with frowns of forced attention, when they were panoramically surrounded by a visual stimulation overload of ocean, beach, locals and tourists from every degree in the 360 spectrum. A technological addiction, for which I, too, have fallen victim to the sticky trap of its World Wide Web.
The zombie apocalypse is here. Technology is the virus. We have become slaves to it, and the ring leaders of this crusade have decided to plant their flag on our land to spread the infection faster in order to make it their backyard for good.
So cheers to you guys, for taking your tech money and pushing us to the proverbial edge of the cliff with no drop. Congrats on finding a perfect name for this place you have invaded and colonized as well. Silicon Beach, because you douchy, hipster yuppies couldn’t be faker and less authentic if you tried. Your homogenized co-dependency for what it is to be cool is the exact antithesis of what this town used to be about—freedom of individuality and expression.
I’d join you for a snooty cocktail at Scopa, but I told my friends I’d meet them at Nikki’s to watch the game. Oh wait…the company that makes it easier to send nudes without having to delete them in front of your boyfriend took over that space instead.
I guess I will have to find somewhere else to snap my story.