In the Ghetto

It’s difficult to constantly appreciate the things I have. I know I’m supposed to be grateful that I have a roof over my head and a TV and I get to take classes, no matter where I’m taking them.

But when I drive home from work and have to take a different street to avoid the four metro and two sheriff cars, paddy wagon, and handcuffed men lining the street to be put in said-paddy wagon, I want to live somewhere different.

The worst part was that, right as I was turning, I saw one of the men make a mad dash for the street, while one cop pulled out his weapon and went after the guy. It happened so fast that I wasn’t even sure if that’s really what I saw at first.
But then I have to say “Nothing bad has happened since we moved back in here,” and remind myself that it could be a lot worse.

Our street runs north and south and jogs east twice within four blocks. The second jog separates the it’s-an-okay-area-if-you-want-to-be-close-to-Broad-Ripple from the I-thought-I-just-heard-gunshots-but-it-was-south-of-the-stop-sign part of the neighborhood. I don’t know what it is about that stop sign but, thus far, none of that business has come north of it.

We do have one neighborhood crackhead who pushes around a lawnmower, asking people if they want their yard cut for a dollar. The people who say “sure” find out that he’s missing a spark plug, or doesn’t have any gas, or there’s something wrong with the mower and could they just loan him a few dollars to replace that missing thing and he’ll come back later to mow?

I guess he stays in an abandoned house south of here, right across the street from my assistant manager Chris and his wife. Chris tells me that the crackhead, whose name happens to be Clarence, got beat up on their porch a few weeks ago. Chris and his wife, like us, just give the guy cigarettes or a few bucks, or whatever loose change we have, because we feel bad for him.

But Chris had to ask Clarence to stop coming around. Clarence was making a habit of showing up at midnight or one in the morning, or even later, and asking for a drink, a cigarette, some money. When the people who Clarence owed money to found him, he happened to be standing right on Chris’s porch and I guess these guys even destroyed Chris’s patio furniture, throwing it around.

It’s that sort of stuff that makes you think this isn’t such a quaint, affordable area to live. It’s still better than the last apartment I had, though, where our tires were slashed for no reason, my stereo was ripped right out of the dash, creepy men would stare into my windows, and people were raped and murdered on what seemed to be a weekly basis.
But both areas seem to breed poor animal care. At night if it’s nice enough and I have the windows open, I can hear the various dogs in the neighborhood, howling and barking. I then hear that dog’s owner come out and scream at it or hit it. It’s depressing to live somewhere where people perpetuate negative stereotypes about urban living, keeping and subsequently mistreating pit bulls and Rottweilers.
I hate seeing guys with their pants around their knees, walking a pit with a choke collar, and yanking the dog around.

And yet, after moving into a really expensive house north of here, my car was stolen right out of the driveway. The police said it was probably some kids joyriding. It had been raining that morning and we lived close to the high school, so, said the cop, they probably “just didn’t want to walk to school.”
I don’t want to get all grandma here, but I actually walked a mile one way to get to school when I was a teenager. It was my choice because I didn’t want to ride the bus. But at no point do I remember asking my sister if she wanted to steal a car so we wouldn’t have to walk in the rain.

The attitude that we lived in a nice neighborhood so we must have had insurance and it wouldn’t be that big a deal for us to lose our car drives me insane. Whenever someone has stolen something from me, it has always been something that I worked really hard to get or have. The stereo in my old car wasn’t cheap and I had to save up for it; the car stolen out of my driveway was too expensive and I had two jobs at the time to afford it and all my other bills. The fact that I have insurance that I barely pay on time every month is beside the point. I once drove for four years without insurance, luckily never being in an accident (which was amazing), because I couldn’t afford it.

Now that we moved back in to this duplex so we could afford for everyone to go to school, I worry that something might happen to one of our cars, or to ourselves. The incident last night on the way home from work didn’t have anything to do with me, but that doesn’t mean someone won’t come running up towards our house and try to get in. Charlie says having two big dogs can be a deterrent for crime. But anyone who would walk up to our dogs wearing a hood would make Alvy cower and run away, and Trinity would just stand there and bark, wagging her tail. Guard dogs they are not.

But I have to tell myself that I’m lucky to have a home at all, no matter where it’s situated or how worried I may get. It could always be worse, right?

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One thought on “In the Ghetto

  1. Pingback: Purpose Defeated « Miss Anthropy

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