Thursday, March 16, 2006

Lovin' the life

I tried to write a quick post about how lickable I find Denis Leary. It wouldn't take because I was trying to take pictures of Leary off the internet and the most delicious ones were protected or something.

So eventually I shut down the laptop and put on some pants and went out to walk the dog. You know what's out there on the street where you walk the dog? Reality.

Frankly, I've had a lot of reality this week. The consequences of living in close proximity to a lot of different kinds of people. CO2 leak in my office on Monday, a cold that I no doubt got off the subway or bus, and tonight there incident on my street.

I hesitate to talk about incidents because, even though most of the people who know me know to keep their mouths shut, there are a fair number of people that don't like that I live in New York. Inside of New York there are probably a fair number of people who question my neighborhood.

I don't.

And it pisses me off when people tell me they wish I would move.

Since I've lived in New York I've sighted celebs, I've taught a class of children while a woman jumped to her death outside our window, I've sung at a legendary cabaret club, I've walked home from work twice - 9/11 and blackout, I've eaten some of the best food in some of the coolest restaurants on earth. I can't remember seeing a mugging or a purse snatching but I probably have. As of tonight I've lived on a block where there was a shooting.

There's been some weird shit going on in the vicinity over the last month or so. Nothing that I've seen but news reports that talk about crimes that inch ever closer.

This morning there was no hot water...again. So I got into the shower around 7:45 tonight. When I got out and was drying off I heard a sound that was like someone rapping a big stick inside a big plastic garbage can. Except that the rhythm was suspicious. I'm not very good with directionality of sound but it sounded like it was in the courtyard so I looked out a couple of minutes later and no one was doing anything, nothing was happening so I thought no more of it.

My neighbor called. She's a bit of an alarmist and she gets a charge out of knowing everything that's going on in the 'hood. She wanted to know if I'd heard the shots. She kept hearing sirens. She wanted to go see what was going on. I hadn't heard any sirens really, not any to think of so I wished her luck. I didn't hear back from her so I assumed that I was right and it was all in her head.

So a few minutes ago when I walked out there was a policeman in the entry path. Someone was coming in and asked what happened. The young officer stuttered a little. He admitted there was a shooting and when she asked, "Is the person all right?" He reluctantly said they were alive. He was hedging. He was just answering the questions. There might have been more than one person, they might not all be alive, it's unclear at best.

Out on the sidewalk both of the streets that border my building are blocked off. Thankfully I've watched a lot of CSI so I recognized things. Lots of those little yellow tent markers along the sidewalk. Everything was blocked off far enough away that I couldn't tell if it was blood drops or bullet casings. There was one lonely gentleman taking pictures. In case you'd like to fact check the CSI:NY costume department his jacket said NYPD in large letters and then there were smaller letters underneath. Again, I wasn't close enough to see.

I was not at any time unsafe. I'd been inside for a couple of hours (ironically watching many episodes of Denis Leary's NYC cop show, The Job) and my apartment is situated in such a way that it'd be pretty hard to accidentally shoot into it from the street. I don't feel scared really or upset or even very freaked out. I'm fucking curious, though. I want to know who shot and at who and why.

I live in a complex of many buildings. They used to be projects. We have our share of thugs. Yet, inside the complex most of those thugs have lived here for their whole lives along with their mothers and sometimes grandmothers. These guys open doors for me, they know my dog by name, they help me carry stuff. They also chat endlessly right under my window late into the night until I want to spit on them, but for the most part they treat me very well.

There's an urban legend about a guy who was the most muggable guy in the city. He got mugged left, right and center. One night he's coming home late on the subway and as he's headed out of the station a group of guys approaches him for a fresh mugging and he's just had it so he tells them that he's only got a dollar and they're welcome to it but he only lives a few blocks away and he just wants to go home. They are shocked. He lives around here? Dude, he needs to be more careful, he should never ride the train this late and they walk him home.

Without the frequent muggings I feel like that's what my neighborhood is like. If I was in trouble, I'm pretty sure that I'd be helped. Trust me when I say that the women in my neighborhood are not to be trifled with and they may have raised the occasional thug but they've raised chivalrous thugs.

I mean, people get shot all the time all over the country, all over the world. (Three years in Iraq as of Sunday. What the fuck?) Which is not to excuse the behavior of the shooter but it's not because of where I live specifically I don't think. It's fricking weird, though.

I'll let you know if I hear anything about what the hell went on out there.

1 comment:

  1. Well… That was not featured in the trailers.

    I completely understand how you feel about your neighborhood. When we moved from Maplewood to Caldwell five years ago—August 10, 2001, a month before everything moved—everyone said, “Oh, I’m glad you’re getting out of that bad neighborhood.”

    This might sound strange—most people in Brooklyn associate Maplewood with affluence--an upscale and hip New Jersey suburb bordering Milburn and South Orange. It’s almost Short Hills! This is partly accurate. My neighborhood, however was cradled between Union, Irvington, and Newark. There were gangs in Irvington. BUT, I knew all my neighbors in Maplewood. It was a jumble of interesting people--working class and journalist class families. Caldwell, the white Republican enclave, lacks the neighborhood culture. And our Caldwell house was broken into one night in year 2 or 3 (I scared off the thief with a light switch). We made it through year 16 in Maplewood without a break-in. I’m happy we moved for several reasons, but I really loved that "bad neighborhood." It had charactuh!