I've been cutting back connections I can't maintain this year to moderate success. Leaving Facebook was universally beneficial for a few reasons. As best as I can tell I've not missed anything I wouldn't have known about through other means. The tremendous relief of not having to fabricate a tale describing how I'd like my life to be projected soothes the soul. I like Instagram a lot because the effort is low, reward is instant and the trite discourse is kept to a minimum.
Google+, well, that's just not my scene. Twitter was another matter. I'm involved with a lot of friends who fancy themselves politicians and community leaders. Originally, I found this exciting and the promise of post-industrial revitalization through arts and culture cued me to spend untold hours volunteering, canvasing, performing and patronizing local businesses. Not long after that talks of "gentrification" began and I dismissed them. Years later it was apparent what I was party to. And now the places I considered to be a new home for life turned into tourism spots for suburban kids, yuppies and students. And a forum for "small businesses" to hawk their bullshit and gain an axis of power on the backs of artists. I was naive and thought, somehow, if I involved myself it would be different. One of our local monthly paper vanity projects regularly post gay-bashing religious bullshit
I pretended I like it here but I don't. The people I really relate to largely live either in the suburbs here or in Toronto where being queer is actually a possibility. Not just humoured politely in exchange for token faggot credibility. There are lots of great people of all walks around me in my life that I hang out with through the LGBT bowling league, bear events in the region and friends nearby. But we have one bar that is a complete dump and nobody goes there except for bingo on Sundays. It blows.
The strange circumstance I also experienced was on anti-depressants. I had no libido therefore injecting myself in straight hipster civic booster society wasn't so bad. Except for the not having sex part. So I hung around drinking expensive cool beers, listening to really loud bands and watched straight people get laid.
The last decade in this city has not been kind to me. I've had to keep two jobs to stay afloat, usually commuting long distances for low wages. There has been talk of LRT and it may even get built but a recent study of the proposed work, cost and timeline shows benefits not being produced for at least two decades. If it gets built.
I've talked to my boyfriend Mark and most of his work is done in Toronto. His home office is in Burlington, reasonable commuting distance from The Big Smoke. I'm tired of waiting for Hamilton to give me a break. The City's slogan is "Best Place To Raise A Child" and the slogan of yuppie hipsters in town on t-shirts reads "You can do anything in Hamilton". The subtext being that if you are affluent you can come and take and if you're straight you can have a baby and send them to school. Nothing for a gay man who is not affluent or interested in having babies. But worst of all little regard is given to the scads of retired, disabled and socio-economically disadvantaged people Hamilton warehouses for Ontario. I still have flashbacks to folks bed-ridden on the 15th floor, bed buggs surrounding them with only a PSW there once a day to see them. That's the dirty side of Canada's allegedly great social safety net. These same yuppie city-boosters who pay endless lip-service and boosterism to Hamilton seem to tacitly believe in trickle down Reaganomics when it comes to their place in their local society. It makes me sick to my stomach.
I love my family and friends here, I have long roots in Hamilton. But I'm ready to move on to a bigger pond. Heck, most of my friends with creative jobs begrudgingly work there anyhow. I'm just not in the financial position to buy a house so why not suck up the extra $300/mo to rent the same apartment at Church & Wellesley or in Leslieville or The Junction and actually have a real community, transit, more than one good coffee shop per square kilometre?