Friday, November 03, 2006

How to tell if the neighborhood you live in is not the best

The Swearing Lady has challenged my street cred (okay, it was a few posts back, and in the comments, but still). This is my response (what, you lot were expecting a rap song?) and proof that I do so live in the ghetto.

You know you live in the ghetto when:

The children in your 'hood collect shell casings that they have found, the way kids in the 'burbs collect old Indian arrowheads.

The main wildlife in your 'hood is the two-legged kind.

The first bird your kids learn to identify is the Ghetto Bird (i.e., the police helicopter).

You are reassured when you hear police sirens, because it means that the police are actually out and about.

When kids draw with chalk on the sidewalk, they draw body outlines.

You know better than to call "911." You know you will get a faster response by calling the police station directly.

You have the phone number for the police memorized because you use it so often.

When you call in to the police station, the dispatcher recognizes your voice, and asks you how the kids are.

You no longer have to give the police directions on how to get to your neighborhood; they already know it.

The police rely on you to give them new info about gang members and drug dealers in your 'hood, and you are neither.

All of the "Neighborhood Watch" signs in your neighborhood have been defaced.

People take shits in the bushes in your yard, and it's not Twenty Major.

The litter in your neighborhood consists of condoms, panties, syringes, and glass pipes.

You have had to warn your toddler to not pick up shiny things, as they are probably razor blades.

You have had to hide on the floor of your house, shielding your child with your body, while the SWAT team (with dogs and automatic weapons, no less) batters down your neighbor's door.

You are one of the last few white people in the area. Everyone else got out while they could.

When you call Pizza Hut and ask for delivery, they laugh.

The Women's Club is run by a guy in a large hat with a feather in it.

The kindergarteners ask the pervs what kind of candy they have. The pervs give it to them because they are afraid not to.

You think that all the local black kids have a speech impediment, but they're actually just speaking Ebonics. They can't seem to grasp the fact that they are not speaking English, and can't understand why you can't understand them. They start talking really loudly and slowly, as if you were a foreigner.

The "Ice Crack Man" cruises your 'hood. You can get your drugs and your ice cream from the same place.

You know all the winos, crazies, and homeless people by name. You can tell when they're out of their usual territory.

They also know you, and know better than to ask you for money.

You know not to stop walking when someone asks you what time it is. You know that this is a common set-up for a mugging.

Even the mailman packs a 9.

Your children come home from school with a whole new vocabulary, and it's not one you want them to have. They have learned how to curse in English, Spanish, and Ebonics.

The teachers at the local school all have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The kids at the local school always gather around your kid at recess, because they have never seen a white person in person before.

People stare at you when you're out walking, and assume that you must be a narc, because you're white.

The Hindus that run the local corner store have seen more action than a Vietnam vet.

Fat Sparrow


Anonymous said...

They lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Verily, thou art clearly from the suburbs, Sparrow.


Foot Eater said...

Christ, and I thought my corner of Essex was bad.

That Vietnam one reminds me:

Q. Why does it take four Vietnam veterans to change a lightbulb?

A. You wouldn't understand, maaaan, you weren't there.

Fat Sparrow said...

The first year I moved here, there were 4 shootings withing a quarter-mile of my house, and a dead body was found in the bushes right up from my house.

Now, 12 years later, my town that was once known for being a KKK stronghold, having one of Al Capone's houses, being a biker bar city, and being one of the speed manufacturing capitals of the US now has million dollar, three story homes going in to the hills above me, not more than 5 miles from my house. Of course my neighborhood is still fucked.

We will also have a state-of-the-art multi-million dollar library that is opening in 2008. It will be the largest and best library in our 20,000 square mile county.

Because of this gentrification, and constantly escalating land prices, the city that I moved to 12 years ago in search of cheap housing, and in hopes of one day being able to afford to buy a house here has now been priced out of my range. Unimproved houses from the 1940s on my street that went for $35,000 now start at $300,000. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Now I have that Elvis song "In the Ghetto" stuck in my head.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I live in the ghetto!

Fat Sparrow said...

Sassy -- Nononono! Do not mention the E word here!

Anti -- Funny, I haven't seen you around.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't help it. It was the first thing that popped into my head. Since it stayed there for a while, I figured I'd share.