“Navigation” by Bryan Washington

“Navigation” is an all too familiar story of the minority situation in cities undergoing gentrification, and it holds no punches. The main characters in this story are the narrator and “whiteboy,” and the details in the story are quite important: there is a stark contrast between the experiences and opportunities of “whiteboy” and the narrator, and, unfortunately, this is completely normal.

One thing that triggered me was how “whiteboy” claimed he was in the real Houston when the condo (!!!) he was living in was only recently built. Yes, say that to the locals who were actually there when the building was still some mattress center. Please tell me how that could even be the real Houston, or the real anything at all.

PS: The other stories in Bryan Washington’s collection, Lot, have the same feel to them as well. (I read a few of them.) If you’re interested in hearing our narrator’s voice and seeing his perspective, I highly suggest giving Lot a read.

3 thoughts on ““Navigation” by Bryan Washington

  1. It’s all a matter of perspective: relativism vs absolutism. There are some aspects that remain absolute and some that are relative. One aspect we can pick for the sake of this argument is “time”. (I don’t want to touch on “preference” since the word itself is universally be accepted as relative in itself, right?) People argue that time is universal or absolute, while Einstein says it’s relative. Time or the rate at which it passes depends entirely on your speed and acceleration at any given moment.
    So.. I’m digressing to my nerdy physics closet but put two and two together and you see what the “real anything” is.

    1. True, although for the narrator, Navigation might have felt fake, for “whiteboy,” Navigation felt like the “real” Houston because that was where he lived. No point labeling anything or anywhere “real.”

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