Friday, March 31, 2006
I have decided to close this blog. At the time I started it, the main purpose was to simplify my life by broadcasting the whacky “ghetto stories” I had. I now have more important things to do than be annoyed at other people. As I founded this blog, the one source of my ghetto stories, my drug addicted smalltime dealer tenant, was evicted. Over time, I realized that he alone was the source of bad feelings I had for the collective neighborhood. That was unfair. Once he was gone, the block improved markedly. The longer I live here, the less I need to announce my “badges of honor” for having “survived” something. I no longer see this community as tragically flawed and it’s people undeserving of praise. It is enough to say they are less advantaged than me. That should disturb us all as Americans. In retrospect, broadcasting my travails as a “honky in the hood” now seems just plain snobbish. My struggles are no more or less than my neighbors or anyone else in the city. They are in short not worth your time, not that they ever were.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I'm still alive, folks. I know I haven't posted anything in forever. But there have been lotsa changes. I'm done with roommates and I'm living with my girlfriend who has a 12 yr old daughter. It's been a tough transition but I have gotten a hold of things. So, let us continue!
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Goodbye, Ms Smith
If the block was a true family, Ms Mozelle Smith would have been the Great Great Grandmother. Anicent, affable, and athletic. She was the very embodiment of words "village elder". She led by example. When I moved in on the block, I think she was one of the first people I was really comfortable having a conversation with. She was doing what she had always done and always did, meticuliously sweeping the sidewalk and cutting the grass next to the cars. For as long as I lived there, nary a cigarette butt or a gum wrapper dared to stay. Otherwise, it was gone by 9am. On the rare occassions, I went into work late, she was out there patrolling the sidewalk. She helped me and I helped her, like true neighbors. I came home one day to find she was duct-taping a crack on her steps. I offered to go get a 5 dollar bag of cement and fix the crack. She was greatful and I started to find all the leaves on my steps gone whenever she had been out and about. Her small backyard was a Eden. This little backyard was so lush that I doubt a putting green had much more on her place. But in the last year, she became frail. I ceased to see her. In my busy comings and goings, I noticed the grass hadn't been cut and the trash was piling up. I tried to pickup the slack but I'm not as good as she was. Leaves are all over the block and bottles pile up in the gutters before I notice them. I miss you, Miss Smith.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Am I getting the 'hood mentality?
I saw in a community email that someone was complaining about the intersection near me. They had gotten their tires slashed on a block of the street frequented by homeless, drunks, and addicts. He went on to complain about prostitution and open air drug market the block. I took some umbrage with the overall tone of the email. It sounded like the neighborhood had a dozen things wrong with it. It appeared to be a tongue-lashing. But I don't think it's that bad. Yes, homeless people hang out there. Where are they supposed to go? Once the weather turns cold, they'll completely disappear. Yes, some selling of drugs goes on but only one person is there usually and they'll disappear in the winter also. But prostitution on the block? I haven't seen that ever. He claimed the prostitution occurs on the grounds of a high school behind tall fences. I haven't ever seen any activity on the block like Johns driving in and out or walking on and off the grounds of the school. And another thing. The homeless over there don't normally get proactive about slashing tires. You gotta earn that. So, I figure this is really about a guy who has no street smarts. I imagine he actually got out of his own car, told off the homeless, and then walked away. So, they slashed his tires. If there's one thing I have learned about people in the hood, the poorer people just ruin your stuff. The tact I have taken is to keep the public spaces clean. It seems to me that my side of the intersection in question is safer now with the trash being picked up. So, instead of getting mad, complaining online or to the cops, I just mind my own business and leave the homeless alone.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Fall is coming
The first noticeably cool night occurred about two weeks ago. Since then, several trees have begun to rapidly drop their leaves. It seems to be that the first week of school is always cool. Since the neighborhood kids are back in school, trash and litter have tailed off noticeably. In the summer, I had to pickup litter everyday. Each Thursday, the recyclables can was brimming when I sent it out. Now I have been lucky to set it out once so far. It is quieter too now that school is back in session. Construction crews are rushing to complete buildings before the first snows come. The old lady is busily working to remove those leaves. With the hot sun gone, she has more time to do that. The bums seem alittle more active now, too. I think they sense the coming months of deadly cold when friends they know, won't be back.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Word recent spread that the city wanted to build a townhouse development over the beloved neighborhood playground. All the units would be "subsidized" which is code for welfare housing. It sounded like a good idea to the planning wizards up in city hall. But to the nieghbors on the block, moving the any part of the local housing project closer to us, was a big idea. I don't think anyone would have grumbled if they used open land a block in the other direction. But that would mean paying a developer the market rate for the land. The park would be free. So, the local Advisory Neighborhood Committee held a meeting. Hundreds of people showed up and demanded the park be preserved AND fully funded. The two hapless civil servants who showed up fielded all angry questions. Any response not meeting the expectations of the neighborhood was assaulted with boos and some curses! You could feel the power of the people, both black and white, united in common purpose. No matter whether you were a renter or a owner, single or a family, all were united. The next day numerous emails and a article in the Washington Post mentioned the ANC meeting. One of the civil servants who had fielded questions was qouted as saying he would revisit the issue and submit a new plan. Damn straight, you will!
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Land Development on My Block!
Today I came home to find workmen erecting fencing around one of the lots I had mowed for three years to keep the homeless from sleeping in the tall grass. The builder is planning to dig out the lot this summer and get a three story building up before the first frost. Rumor has it that a ten unit building is going to be erected that is three stories high.