She’s Glad

by Rebecca Schoenkopf

I would rather not move to Palmdale, thank you. No, I will not accept your offer of an adjustable rate/stated-income loan.

Don’t worry about me: I will continue to pay more than $2000 a month in rent for a reasonably nice home in dirty, smoggy, traffic-choked Anaheim, and I will have my delight in your downfall to keep me warm at night.

I should feel for the simple folk who got suckered into their one-way tickets to foreclosureville. My heart, since I am a liberal, should bleed. They thought the tulip craze would continue, and they quite literally bet the farm on it, if you could call a $500 thousand condo in a shitty part of Garden Grove a farm. And why not? The agents assured them California real estate might stagnate but never crashes, which is just demonstrably untrue. When I went house hunting a year ago, I saw frenzy on the faces of my fellow open housers. I saw mothers and their middle-aged daughters looking hungrily at town homes in Stanton that were ugly and dark and cramped and cost more than four-bedroom ranchers in nice towns had the year before, sure, but they were also gang-infested and convenient to the pride of Stanton: its titty bars. I saw one-bedrooms that smelled of cat pee, directly under power lines and with a view onto the neighbors’ garage, at prices that—for interest only—were more than my take-home pay, and my take-home pay fell smack in the center of Orange County’s median household income. I was shocked, and I was saddened, and I was cured of wanting to buy a house. But that didn’t make me hate you any less for buying yours.

bye-bye, nest egg

And now that you can’t sell your houses, and the bottom is falling out of the market, and interest rates have risen—oh, yeah, and you’re in default—I know that feeling happy about your fate is not only immoral but is counterproductive too. Your ride on the real estate train, as it crashes, is about to bring our entire economy down with it. Once you stop refinancing your house so you can buy a brand new car, the only people left to support our lifestyle will be China and the Saudis, and they’re probably not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. I know all these things, and I’m still glad. You’re going to lose your house, and I don’t care. If you hadn’t been so greedy, dreaming of a never-ending Ponzi scheme in which everybody triples his investment, prices wouldn’t have quintupled in seven years, and I would be able to buy a ranch house for $160 thousand, like God intended. You fucked it up for everybody, but you mostly fucked it up for me.

So now the end is near. And I will laugh and dance and pee on the grave of your brief realization of the American Dream. I will bathe and frolic in your tears. I still won’t be able to buy a house. But my righteousness is all the home I need.

Rebecca Schoenkopf is the former editor-in-chief of LA CityBeat and former senior editor at OC Weekly, where she wrote about art, music, politics and more. She taught political science at UC Irvine and was an Annenberg Fellow at USC, receiving her master's in Specialized Journalism focusing on urban policy in May 2011. She lives with her son in a neighborhood we'll just call Hancock Park-adjacent. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/commiegirl1.
rebecca@fourstory.org

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