Monday, September 28, 2009

(White) Boy in the Hood

A little over a week ago, I packed up everything I own, threw it in my car, and moved half-way across the city. From Westwood Village to what I've seen alternately called Mid-City and Mid-Wilshire, but is definitely within the boundaries of Arlington Heights.

My first thought: Where did all the Audis go? And BMWs, Mercedes, Priuses, and even late model Accords? Gone away, exchanged for tricked out 90's Acuras and old Caddies. Luckily, my 2000 Honda Civic fits in nicely with both cultures.

My plan was to trade the late night yells of drunken college students, shared room, and high rent for peace and quiet, some space, and extra funds. I found the space and the lower rent, but the peace and quiet have eluded me. The neighbors are nice enough, but families make noise, and I always have my windows open. The sounds of the 'hood flood in with gusto: Conversations in Spanish, the sound of a soccer ball slamming into the chain link fence right outside my window, the screeching bark of a dog (all the damn day long), people gunning the engines of their tricked out 90's Acuras, the seven gunshots outside my window at 2am........

Yes, that's right, seven gunshots. I had planned on noting the little foibles that come from moving from a college town to the ghetto, for instance how the middle school down the street is named after Johnnie Cochran, but once you hear seven gunshots outside your window, the quirks of living in a lower class area somehow lose their comedic value.

My sister once told me about the shots fired outside her Brooklyn apartment. I shrugged it off. My new roommates told me about the shots fired here two weeks ago. I shrugged it off. I was quietly watching the first episode of The Wire late last night and off they went. It sounded like pop-guns, but I knew exactly what it was. I immediately reached for my phone and reported it to the police... then cried like a little girl (on the inside).

Luckily, I am currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor, so I was nearly as low as I could get. I closed all the blinds, made sure the doors were locked, shut my computer (I couldn't stomach any more of The Wire) and went to sleep. Let's hope the trend doesn't continue.

No comments: