Last year I went with a friend to see the Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit Concert. My friend and I took a break from the music to look for something to eat and she asked me a very interesting question:
Have I ever felt like I wasn’t seeing how most people really live because I live in a city?
It’s an odd question but I knew exactly what she was talking about. I told her I felt this idea was true BUT only if you can afford to live in a city, especially San Francisco. If you can afford to live in a good neighborhood here then, yeah, your view of how other people live might be skewered.
I had no idea how skewered my view of day-to-day life was until I really started getting into yaoi and connecting with people. Fact is, my beloved San Francisco is like living in the cornocopia but only if you have enough resources. Everything I do: eating, entertainment, working, my neighborhood, my apartment, shopping, all comes from an advantageous place. None this was handed to me. I’ve worked my ass off to get to get here and almost lost everything during the economic downturn but it’s still easy to assume everyone lives like me.
They don’t. People live in more economically repressed areas, they have less resources, and I’m not just talking about money, I’m talking about everything. And I’m including the many people who live in San Francisco.
Sometimes I think of living here as being in The Tower. Even the simplest, more basic things like eating are taken to amazing levels. This place is a foodie paradise and sometimes I get to partake in the bounty. Sure, I can talk about wine and restaurants and how much I love oysters but there are people who can’t even relate to that shit. I’m like the princess in The Tower who stares at herself in the mirror all day, thinking everyone is like me.
Not everyone gets to eat like I do. Not everyone gets to enjoy the diversity of people who are around me all day long. Not everyone gets to enjoy the city, culture, and the beach that are right outside my door.
One of the greatest benefits of loving yaoi is I have regular exposure to all different kinds of people from all over the world. People who have less than me and some who have more. I love that I know people from different countries with different outlooks and who have a different way of life. I love knowing people who are younger than me.
All of this regular exposure has made me a broader person, I think. Sometimes I think I have a broader outlook than many of my peers, particularly the people I work with.
Knowing people in this way allows me to come out of my Tower. And it’s taught me that I’m not going to learn these things from people who are like me. I know all this on an abstract level but it wasn’t until I got to know people who love yaoi that I really started to understand it.