Despite all of the things I love about living in the city there are still some drawbacks…
No, strike that…
Despite all the things I love about living in 2008 there are still some drawbacks.
Like what you ask?
When I was a little kid, say 6 years old, if at 1 AM 4 kids were standing on the corner screaming threatening obscenities at one of their number I would never have noticed.
I find it remarkable what children can sleep through.
I imagine though, that when I was a child that yelling and screaming would have been met with someone shouting from their window to “Shut up already and go to bed”.
I like to think that. Is it true? I don’t know go ask my dad.
Today though that’s most certainly not the reaction I’d have… so when a little after 1 AM I wake to the sounds of threats and obscenities, violent yelling, more obscenities and amazing over use of the phrase “fucking shit”… Well it’s not the same.
After a few minutes of silent listening I went into K’s room to get her. I didn’t want her to wake up alone and be frightened. I brought her into out room and with her curled against me in sleep I whispered to Mr. Kaos “Call the police”.
“I will” he told me.
He was trying to find the non emergency number.
It took him a few minutes but finally he dialed, listened to the hold information and then spoke with someone. He tried to tell the man on the phone what the situation was as politely as he could.
Standing on the corner. In front of our house. Obscene language. Threatening language. Violent language. Three or four of them. Late teens? Right in front of our house.
With me in the background reminding him they were behaving violently. I swear I heard someone’s flesh make contact with the ground, with some stone in our yard.
While he talked to the operator I could hear them move on… wander down the street.
Apparently the 20 minutes they spent just outside our window was enough and they made their way down the road to scream obscenities or kill each other in front of someone else’s house.
Now here it is, 1:55 in the morning… Mr. Kaos is drifting back to sleep, K is curled happily in our bed hugging her doll and dreaming of anything but what just happened and I’m awake.
Typing my thoughts onto this white screen hoping that my shaking will somehow be mediated by the pouring out of my soul. Hoping that once again putting words to page will cleanse me of my fear.
Not so in this case.
Writing removes MY fear. The fear I place on myself.
Not the fear heaped on by life outside my windows.
Not the fear that in this peaceful neighborhood one dumb ass with a gun could change everything I know in an instant should a stray bullet come through my window. Should I hear a shot out on the street. Should I be forced to lay here a moment longer listening to threats and thuds.
In the end it has nothing to do with the city because in cities, suburbs, neighborhoods. countrysides and towns all across the world people are dealing with so much worse.
It’s just easier sometimes when it’s the other guy awake in bed at 2 AM hoping that the nervous shaking will stop.
I wrote that shortly before 2am Thursday night… around 4:30 I heard the boys make their way back up the street chanting the same set of obscenities like a totem. Like the words made them that much tougher…
I didn’t sleep well that night.