Monday, June 15, 2009

the oddities of the inner city

Today was just like any other day in the inner city-- entirely too many pit bulls, the pants so low that a new form of walking is necessary, and the base so loud in the car driving past that my picture frames shake. But then there are some other odd things that emerge. 

I leave my house, driving the same route as always-- down the street, past the bar, and five blocks to the freeway. Again today I saw the man and woman with their kids in the front yard. I looked closely and drove slowly. In front of that boarded up house next to the bar were at least 9 children under the age of ten. There could have been more than that, but I am not sure. One thing you learn about the inner city is not to stare too long. It's not good to be a witness. And then I saw something interesting, mom and dad otherwise known as man on a bike and pregnant woman on a bike. It was then that I realized I had seen them before. I had seen them in a parking lot at a local hardware store. You've probably seen them too. They are the pregnant and sad ones who approach your car because they are out of gas. They need to borrow money for gas. Sigh... 

Then I realize, I have seen them somewhere else... at the freeway exit by my house. They sit with a few kids, look pathetic, and beg for money. I am not sure where the other dozen kids are during this adventure, but I will probably dial the authorities next time I see it. I have a feeling they will be moving on before anyone official has a chance to check it out. Most of the boarded up and abandoned houses have temporary residents. Every new school year it's tough to see so many cute little kids roaming around looking for their "new-temporary" home. So many kids have no idea how to get back where they came from. It must be terrifying to have such an unstable life. 

There are a few odd things that have happened living there. I did have a tupperware-selling crack head neighbor. I never did see those awesome blue mixing bowls I ordered. Her husband eventually told me that she smoked crack. He went door-to-door to tell all of the neighbors. Too late. She got me. It was nice that he tried. I felt really sorry for him. He kicked her out, changed the locks, and raised the kids on his own. 

Speaking of men raising children, I have seen some amazing older black men raising not just one or two generations, but in one case, three generations. This amazing man raised his four children while caring for his very sick wife for more than 30 years. Then he raised his daughter's children. And now he raises his great-grandson. I know that some young black men are abandoning their children at record pace. And I know that there is even vocabulary to explain the phenomenon-- baby momma. But there are some unbelievably loving and caring and care-taking older black men that take care of their families beyond what most of us would do. Those older men are so disheartened by the thugs who abandon their daughters and granddaughters. If only those older inner city black men could kick some butt around the neighborhood, the inner city would be a different place. 

the wives of the controversial

The latest reality show craze is NBC's show, "I'm a Celebrity. Get Me Out of Here!" There was talk before the show was on the air that Rob Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, was going to be on the show. A judge refused to let him leave the country while charges were pending. So, Blago's wife, Patty, decided to take his place. I started out feeling sorry for her. I guess I thought that she was disgraced by her husband, and then pimped out to make his case for him in the media and to make some money. Then after a day or two on the show, I started to really like her. She's normal. She's caring. She is surprisingly real-- something lost on the fake-fabulous Heidi and Spencer. Those two need to go back to 3rd grade to figure out how to make friends on the playground rather than talk smack and shove like bullies.


And the other wronged woman who has recently made the news is Elizabeth Edwards. I would not think in a million years that I would have anything in common with her. I certainly didn't think that I would like her book and see her as an honest, together, and sincere woman. She's been in a tough spot. Her husband is a cheater. And her determination to take the high road and keep her family together is admirable. It takes a strong woman to deal with cancer and also to piece back together a shattered life.


Two democrat women. Two moms who were wronged by louts, one admitted and one soon to be indicted. I like both women. It's a surprise to me. I don't know why. I guess I had characterized them by their husbands. I should have known better.