The #1 Way to Stay Young

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Three words. Livin’ inda ghetto.

I love, love, love it. Living on the eastside (represent!) completes me. I can get a breakfast taco from a LEGIT, just-moved-here-illegally, mustached taqueria God at any time of the day. I also never have to mess with annoying apartment gate codes because my gate is rigged to stay open at all times. Safe? Well, there are cops and ambulances around regularly, so I honestly don’t worry.

I pay half as much as I would for a place this size in a “nicer” area. I’m close to downtown, super close to my job, and if I was ever in some sort of trouble, I truly feel like I could knock on a neighbor’s door and ask for protection. I definitely live next to some shady people. In exchange, I’d help their kids learn English. That’s when Lifetime would FINALLY contact me. Working titles: The Teacher Next-Door, The Teacher Who Refused to Move, A Project in the Projects. HAHAHA. I don’t live in the projects. But you know Hollywood.

Last night, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning—I thought because of the thunder. But then I heard people partying. Loudly. I guess we Texans really do love our weather, but I didn’t think there was anyone who got wasted in the parking lot (in the intense downpour) and whooped every time lightning struck. This might not have anything to do with livin’ inda ghetto, but it’s awesome nonetheless.

Today I tried to find an alterations shop to fix one of my dresses. You know how you always hear about “fronts”? I’m not gonna lie, when I walked into the hole in the wall shop, the owners definitely looked at each other as if to say, “Oh shit, an actual costumer. What are we supposed to be again, alterations, right? Not cocaine, definitely not cocaine.”

Then we get to one of the best perks about living on the eastside—something no one ever mentioned to me (or else I would have moved here a LOT sooner). There are some FYYYNE-ass people up in hurr. Think about it—everything is cheap. What kind of people are poor (besides the obvious people mentioned above…druggies, illegals, etc.)? Well, there are the starving artists—yummy. The hot, young college boy toys (I can look, OK). The skinny jeaned, scarf loving hipsters, if you’re into that. And then there are young professionals like me who simply refuse to pay $100 more every month just to lower their chances of getting raped. You should see the sexy people at Planet Fitness on East Riverside. It’s very confusing to see so many attractive young people in one place. It’s like college—and it always takes me a minute to adjust and realize, oh yeah, I graduated a long time ago…this is not the quad…none of these people will ever be serving me a cup of trashcan punch. Going to HEB is even better—right when I’m convinced that I’m 18 and I’ve been transported to that tiny HEB right off campus, one of my students pops out from behind the bread aisle. “HI MISS MENDEZ!” Bubble bursted. But so worth it while it lasted—I haven’t felt this young since I was young.

Then there are the hidden gems of bars and food trucks. Eastside is crawling with them. My latest find was The Vortex on East Manor—they have live performances of different sorts. Attached is the Butterfly Bar, which has the coolest 1920’s vibe. And outside is Patrizi’s, the most delicious Italian food truck, with tons of seating and a stage for live music. But can you see any of this from the street? No. There’s a shady lookin’ fence you walk behind and then you’re struck with the awesomeness. As is the story with a lot of bars, restaurants, stores, and food trucks on the eastside. It’s part of the fun.

So basically, if you’re feeling old or bored or stale or lonely or uninteresting, get your ass over here! We are waiting with open, tattooed arms and smiling, gold-toothed, taco-filled faces.

On a serious note, as a post script—the eastside is really not the ghetto. I think it used to be, maybe? But it’s changed a lot. I see more of the hot people I mentioned than the shady people I mentioned, ya feel me? I mean, it’s still not smart to walk around my hood in a skanky dress, but I don’t think it’s 100% safe to do that in any area. That being said, sometimes, when I’m driving down Oltorf, I really forget that I’m in America. Every sign is in Spanish! I dig it though.

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