Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"People Were Yelling Out In The Street" (Summer Visitation 2009)

Photo By John Hoff

Last night a document came into my hands--a brief in the "True JACC" lawsuit to determine the legitimate leadership of the Jordan Neighborhood--and I was eager to show it to an involved party. I told my son, Alex, that I'd be gone for a little while, but he'd be fine. He could play video games and watch cartoons, but I expected him to "be in bed at a decent hour" on his own initiative.

When I got back at about midnight, my son was asleep in bed, obediently, but he had blocked the bedroom door from the inside with a big plastic bin full of books...

I pushed the door open and turned on the light, waking him where he was laying asleep in front of the electric fan.

"What's up, Alex?" I asked. "Why did you block the door?"

He shrugged.

"Were you afraid of burglars?" I asked.

He told me somebody had been angrily "yelling out in the street" and it made him afraid they'd just come right in the house. He didn't say so, but the implication was obvious to me: this doesn't happen in his affluent South Metro suburb. He's not accustomed to it.

I told my son this happens pretty frequently around here, though not as often as it used to since the low-lifes at the "domestic violence house" got evicted, thank god. Things are improving, all the time, through the constant efforts of active and involved residents taking their neighborhood back from thugs. Frankly, I was surprised it took more than a week for this problem to come to my son's attention. Progress!

I informed my son that I don't even bother to call the police about "no account people" arguing out in the street unless I hear the sounds of somebody being hit. I told he doesn't need to worry the conflict will spill into our house, beyond the deadbolt on the front door. That just doesn't happen. Their stupid, colorful arguments concern their own troubled lives, not us. Sometimes it's even fun to listen!

"I'll be asleep in the next room, now," I told him. "You don't need to worry, OK?"

"OK," he said, smiling sheepishly.

Pictured above, my son picking out library books. He has some kind of fascination with the scientific phenomenon of "absolute zero," the coldest temperature theoretically possible; very important to concepts such as "superconductivity."


Margaret said...

Just a suggestion, but if you plan to leave your son alone, you might leave him with the next door neighbor's number or tell him to call you if something weird is going on outside. Until he can figure out for himself what is 911 worthy and what is just the usual hood drama. Or until your neighborhood really does become utopia with no drama at all. It's a learning process for most people (adults included) when they move to North.

Johnny Northside said...

Um...trust me when I say the last thing on earth I would do is put my kid in contact with the next door neighbors.

But, yeah, it is a learning process and he's in the middle of that learning process. He just learned yelling out in the street is no big deal unless somebody is getting hit or shots get fired. But, thankfully, he's learning this is becoming more rare all the time.

Margaret said...

Sorry, I need to review my map of Johnnynorthside world. I thought your near neighbors were some of the good folks, not dystopians.

Living out loud in the streets is partly a cultural thing too. And sometimes when people are just having a loud conversation in my neighborhood, from down the street it can sound like a fight. People don't tend to have that in the burbs.

Johnny Northside said...

It's a mixed bag, but suffice to say I wouldn't have my son calling any of my neighbors, though not all my neighbors are BAD. I had different neighbors, like Peter and Pam and the Polish woman, back in the Eco Village. But I'm not there, now.

Johnny Northside! said...

One inappropriate comment rejected.