Sunday, April 03, 2005

Spring is here, and the warm weather brings out the criminals. It was kicked off on Monday at 11:30 AM by the police helicopter buzzing directly over my building like an angry hornet. The cats were hilarious, completely confused and perturbed at the noise, their necks stretched tall, eyes wide, and ears stretched back, looking at me for an explanation then up as if the source of the noise resided inside my apartment. I don't see why, as they are both from Los Angeles where the helicopter is practically a registered bird species.

After several passes lasting several minutes and practically being able to see the whites of the eyes of the helicopter pilot, I got dressed and wandered outside to see what all the fuss was about. I saw two cop cars parked at an angle at the dead end of my street that butts up to a park and condo development. Several beefy cops had a guy in his thug-i-form, (white T-shirt and baggy jeans) in cuffs and spreading them for a pat down. So, the cops caught a jack rabbit. I later learned that the guy had stolen a car and sent the police on a chase. He ditched the car, ran on foot, only to end up looking really stupid, spread eagle in cuffs for all his efforts. Most certain, the chase had started in one of the surrounding ghettos and ended up in our neighborhood. It’s also sure to be one of many to come. This was like the christening of spring, with this chase comparable to a champagne bottle being cracked over a freshly polished berth. Soon the muggings and worse will start, and I'll be reading about them on our neighborhood bulletin board.

I've been growing increasingly tired of having to look over my shoulder. I can't solve the problems of the ghettos. I can only protect myself. The other day, a young man who couldn't have been more than sixteen walked past me and said hello to me. Of course, I greeted him back in kind, but I hated that I automatically doubted his intentions. I hated that he felt he had to put me at ease by saying hello. He's really saying, "See lady, I'm not a mugger or thug. I know that's what you thought, but I’m just a kid out on a stroll on a nice day who wanted some time off from the heartbreak in my own neighborhood."

I know my guard is up because of "Craig." It will eventually go back to Defcon 4, and I'll be less paranoid. Not less careful, but less paranoid. I know that all the people aren't bad from the ghettos. In fact, most are good people who are as fed up with the bad apples as we are. I remember Evonne, who had locked herself out of her car at Rite Aid.

We had more excitement on Tuesday, as I heard sirens and big trucks outside my house. Once again, I got up, got dressed, and walked outside to see a mass of fire trucks, a couple police cars, one ambulance, and a ladder stretching from a truck to the roof of a rowhouse. I walked over to the group of people and saw flames erupting from the roof of a rowhouse.

Holy shit.

Firemen were on the roof with hoses and axes, and I could see another one inside the house on the top floor wielding his axe at the ceiling. Many of these rowhouses are over 150 years old and are like tinder boxes. When my mom and Jack's rowhouse was getting renovated, I saw that the mortar in the walls was reinforced with horse hair. Makes nice kindling for a fire.

In this case, a crew that was working on the roof started the fire. I'm not sure how yet, but the house has major damage. Luckily, the firemen were able to keep it to a corner, but no doubt there will be water damage, interior damage, and the beautiful cornice was destroyed. I'm glad the workmen were smart enough to realize that it was beyond their capabilities and quickly called the fire department, as the owners of the house weren't home.

I got another freelance job that will start soon. Good for me. It's all in the plan to get out of here. I could be so much more successful if I was a better marketer of self. I mean, I could be hauling in cash. But, I'm not right now. Doesn't mean I won't ever be, I'm just not.

The thing is, I'm good at what I do. I'm easy to work with, I "get it," and what I do pays a good penny. But, for some reason I'm hanging back right now. My friend Malcolm and I always talked about our fear of success, and yes, I'm guilty. He had that fear, and so do I. Just another thing on the ever growing list to work through. I have moments of fearlessness, then that little sister voice tells me to get in the back seat of the car so the grown up people can sit up front.

I hope I don't continue to hide my talents and ideas for fear that gasp, they will succeed. I'm in a limbo now, and not one that I'm willing to tolerate much longer. Yes, I know I've accomplished some really cool things. Living in Baltimore brought that fact front and center. Holy shit did it ever.

I guess I'm ready for my next step now. Whether I take it slowly or not isn't the issue. It's that I take it.

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