Once upon a time, the dissatisfied from up North or down South — makes no difference — decided to visit a small city in the North Carolina mountains.
That city was Asheville.
We were a welcoming bunch and liked the attention from those who came from the big cities up North and down South.
We were loved because we cared about our environment, social justice, startups and other local small businesses.
In other words, we were cool.
But the cool can always be made better, right?
The big city folks decided that Pritchard Park needed cleaning up — parts fenced off, homeless people moved out, perhaps even some benches taken away so the homeless would go sleep somewhere else.
The big city folks had to invest the big sums they made from selling their homes in the North and South. So they built and purchased expensive homes here, sending the price of housing out of reach for those who worked to serve them and their expensive pleasures.
The creativity of our small city enthralled the people from the North and South. But soon the starving artists had to move away themselves because they no longer could live here.
We saw big corporate hotels take our skylines, hide our views of the mountains. Even one of our iconic landmarks, the Flatiron Building, was put up for sale with intentions of making a hotel of it. Beautiful old homes on Biltmore Avenue were slated to be gutted and turned into — you guessed it — boutique hotels.
Ben & Jerry’s moved in downtown. They used to be weird, too. But now only their prices were weird, $4.85 or more for a small cone.
The Dissatisfied found a utopia in Asheville. But like so many have done elsewhere, they missed that which they had left. And so within a decade, they gave Asheville a new face, a playground for the elite, a city with fancy rooftop expensive restaurants and fewer of us weirdos. They had all moved away to build again in other places once left for dead, places where they could once more afford to create and built a new sustainable utopia.
But this time they prayed to the universe and their goddesses that this time, they’ll not be discovered by the rich dissatisfied with dull lives in dull cities.
— Rachael Bliss