Sit at Common Market in Plaza Midwood long enough on a weekend evening and it will inevitably happen. A red, open-aired bus will eventually drive by — a comedic tour guide blasting jokes through the onboard microphone as it drives toward the iconic neighborhood bar, deli and convenience store rolled into one.
Regular patrons at Common Market seem to have little, if any, patience for the Funny Bus. Middle fingers go up. Profanities and slurs are launched.
“F— you,” some will exclaim. “This isn’t your neighborhood,” others scream out.
For some, it’s merely a running joke — a playful back-and-forth between the Funny Bus comedian, his audience and a neighborhood crowd not entirely unaccustomed to a little off-color humor and some obscenities.
But, for others, the bus drives down Commonwealth Ave. as a blatant and physical reminder of all the dramatic change that’s come to the neighborhood. You get the feeling, one Common Market patron once told me, that the “yuppie” comedy bus crowd is taking a tour through the zoo, condescendingly pointing and laughing at the very people and places that made the neighborhood the cool, hip place where everyone now wants to be.
Change can sting, but, of course, is inevitable. It happens every day, in every city, in every community around the globe. For Charlotte, much of this change has been the city’s rapid growth since the 1990s. Our most recent and newest building and business boom post-Great Recession is making waves and transforming the city in unique and interesting ways.
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