April 25, 2017
So one of the neighbors called the cops on a young couple who are regular visitors from the other side of Conduit of Blight Boulevard. Usually these two come through the ’hood pushing their toddler in a stroller, presumably making their way from the depressing apartments to the west of us into the park, a much nicer venue in which to enjoy the company of a small child. They had a friend with them — maybe a relative, but because I think they’re Latino and he was decidedly of the African persuasion, let’s call him their friend.
This little group was doing nothing wrong. They were not peering into backyards. They were not stealing bicycles or potted plants. They were not fighting. They were not harassing anyone. They were just walking along, engaged in a lively conversation.
As they walked by the Funny Farm, all three dogs went screaming BATSH!T, because the passers-by were making a little noise — unusual noise, that is — especially Friend, who was carrying on about some event at the top of his voice, in that aggressive rap tone and meter that some people affect. The young mom, at one point, advised him to quit making a drama out of everything, which elicited a spirited defense of his personal approach to Life, the Universe, and All That.
They were not committing a crime. They did not appear to be about to commit a crime. They were not doing anything out of the ordinary. They were just…well…acting ghetto.
Apparently some of the residents here can’t cope with that.
Hence, not one but two squad cars. Yes. Four cops in two spectacularly marked sedans came cruising down the street after the three pedestrian desperadoes, to do…what? Give them a lecture on how to behave properly in Whiteyville?
You know, there’s no reason to believe the young man was intentionally offending or even had any idea he was offending. The couple has moved through our space comfortably for weeks, and so he probably felt right to home. There are people that you recognize right off the bat as dangerous, even as immediately threatening — like the two felonious looking dudes with the bloodhound. But these folks were not that. That kid could not have scared me if he tried. Which he did not.
He wasn’t hurting anyone or anything. He wasn’t threatening. He was just being what he is: a goofy kid.
Here’s what I think about that: If you are going to live on the edge of a ghetto, you must expect to meet people, now and again, who exhibit ghetto behavior. They must expect to meet people, now and again, who exhibit up-tight whitebread behavior.
Get used to it.
It’s part of the Zen of living in a big city: you get used to the many different styles of its many different people. If you don’t like it, move to an HOA in the boondocks and commute to work an hour or two each way.
One of the few redeeming features of urban life is that it is interesting. The main thing that makes urban life interesting is the rubbing together of cultures: the coexistence of people with different viewpoints and different habits.
That’s why we live in the city.