“Quadrantism” in Albeit
If it’s true that humans instinctively divide themselves, Albeit is a great piece of supporting detail. The residents live in a community divided into four separate Quadrants, each of which contains anywhere from one to five Cantons. If it’s also true that humans instinctively stereotype, Albeit certainly doesn’t defy the status quo.
The four Quadrants—Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast—are no more than a few miles apart at their corners, yet the residents of Albeit often act as if each lies in a different continent. The resulting stereotypes and blanket statements have never gotten destructive enough to warrant an anti-“Quadrantism” campaign. Even so, any Albeitian who makes the mistake of identifying him or herself by a section of the city is making a risky move.
Albeit’s residents, of course, are stereotyped as anti-materialist and creative, but also poor, odd and somewhat secretive. (The city has a long tradition of embracing all of these terms, especially those that separate them from the mainstream.) Thus, one shouldn’t think of the Quadrant-specific language as overriding that which pertains to all of the Cantons. The following is a general overview of the preconceptions and biases that affect specific parts of the Albeit region.
One might as well start with Southeast, the largest of the Quadrants. Stereotyping this area is quite tricky, as its Cantons range from entertainment centers to housing projects, from universities to Postball stadiums. Anyone who hails from Southeast is expected to give their specific Canton; otherwise, the person whom they address will have a host of contrasting stereotypes to pick from. (Perhaps this is a good thing.)
There are a few adjectives that have come to define the entire region, however. Most people in Southeast are known to be a little bit quirky; in Albeit, the common phrase is “a pink flamingo mentality.” Hauraki, the southernmost Canton in Southeast, is indeed known for the flocks of plastic flamingos that adorn some of the lawns. Southeasterners are considered wealthier than their neighbors in Southwest and Northeast, but this isn’t to say that every resident has a mansion and a Rolls. Indeed, Elam—known more or less as “The Welfare Canton—” is the poorest area in all of Albeit.
Moving into Southwest, clearer generalizations begin to appear. This part of the city was relatively uninhabited into the mid-nineties, but experienced a matriculation of “Old School” residents who wanted to escape the increasingly mainstream Cantons of Southeast. As a result, Southwest residents are known for their independence and need for space. The stereotypical Southwesterner also has a love for the outdoors and tends to live frugally. Such generalizations fit more with the outskirt Cantons of Slat and Pacfyst than with the densely populated canton of Phoebe. Though inhabitants of Southwest are perceived as genial and friendly, they’re also known for their rampant idealism—which, from time to time, gets in the way of friendships and commitments.
Northeast truly is a tale of two Cantons as far as stereotypes are concerned. On the western side lies Graupel, an area without much money and excitement but known for its committed, passionate citizens who just never seem to pick up much luck. Graupel is the only part of Albeit that has a working industrial sector, adding the factory worker stereotype to the bag. A trip East, however, takes residents into the most stereotyped (and most accurately stereotyped) Canton of all: Em. Sadly, the popular image of drug-riddled, bullet-plugged Dry Street tends to hold true for most of the residents. This is an area that the police more or less gave up on by the turn of the millennium; as a result, the Canton managed to suck up all the crime from the rest of the city and dispose of it on Em streets. By 2005, eight out of ten residents had at least some involvement in crime.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is Northwest, a one-Canton Quadrant that has somehow managed to irk almost all residents outside its borders. Residents of NW are labeled as cosmopolitan, fashion-loving, white-collar citizens who don’t care for the city’s traditions of independence and creative fraternity. True for all residents? No, especially those who moved specifically to “win back” the Canton for Albeit proper. Nevertheless, Northwest proves a relatively simple Canton to caricature.
Once nothing but an aid for postal workers, the Quadrant system has since led to stereotypes and generalizations about each section of the city. It’s never easy to make blanket statements in Albeit, but the preconceptions people have about each Quadrant—at the very least—shed some light on the social differences among Albeit’s residents.