Sunday, September 16, 2007
Normal for Glenwood, Weird in General
On Saturday I spent a few hours outside in our neighborhood painting our fence and then taking my kids to the park with my father-in-law. The things that occurred all around me were normal things for Glenwood, and it was surreal in the way that it seemed normal to me. Across the street at a house that is home to at least one prostitute and several drug users, one guy talked on the phone to his mom, handing it off to one of the prostitutes for her to talk for a few minutes ("Hey, mom," she said, "nice to meet you over the phone.") My neighbor from across the street, who reminds me a good deal of the lead guitarist for the Muppet Band, shuffled home, and both prostitutes and addicts were coming in and out of his apartment (he talks with me a lot about all the people that have come to Christ through his preaching and healing ministry, but I am not sure that he is not addicted to crack himself). A man that I could not see yelled for about 5 minutes around the corner, hidden by the bushes, telling someone that this was "his bleepin' 'hood", and continued to drop f-bombs by the dozen, as another addict made calls on his cell phone and paced the sidewalk. My friend Ben, who makes his living by going through garbage cans and recycling the metal he finds, stopped to give Joe some vienna sausages that he dug out of the trash up the street. A young man who had been kicked out of his house for the third time in three months stopped by with the car that he had bought for $100 (not having plates for it, insurance, or a driver's license) and asked for a couple of bucks to buy a burger at McDonalds. As we walked to the park, we passed lawns that were immaculately groomed and even decked out with artificial flowers, houses that were boarded up or trashed in the front. We passed a houseful of Hispanic workers having a beer and hanging out. On our return route, we had a drug deal go down right in front of us, passed a Latino man heading to the store (as a prostitute called out to him, "Hey, Amigo!"), were asked about the tutoring program by a guy who was drinking a 40 with his buddies, and passed a houseful of college students who would later have a party that went into the wee hours of the night. As we walked up the hill to the house, I said to my father-in-law, "My neighborhood is so weird." Where else do you find all these people and contrasts? And not only is it weird, but when I think about it, it is broken and sad, and I wonder what more we could be doing, need to be doing. And in some strange way, I am thankful for this "normal."
Posted by Marshall Benbow at 8:27 PM