Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Steep Decline, Straight-Up Report

This post is straight forward reporting on my part, as was the last. I'm observing the rapid decline of my surroundings, and my blog is becoming my outlet. The scenarios are now commonplace, and with the approach of summer things aren't going to get better. Warm weather brings the desperation, struggle and fear out of hiding. It brings out the stench of dumpsters and the anger of dogs. It is not welcome.


There were three fights near my home around 7:00 p.m. last evening. Police were called to each scene. I was walking home from a park and heard the sirens, then saw the cars, then heard the sirens stop. I knew I'd hear them stop near my home. They always do, even though Seattle is a big city.

A neighbor friend told me a distant relative of hers had been involved in one fight. He was beaten severely by four or five men right outside the Mexican restaurant next door, and is in the hospital. He was drunk, and probably trying to buy drugs. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong move.

When police asked if anyone had seen how it started (it started inside the restaurant) they all said 'no'. By the way they dress, it's likely they are members of various Crips factions. I haven't asked them directly.

Several of the assailants ran, and the cops didn't give chase. Another fight broke out within minutes on the street in back of mine. Then another a couple of blocks over. No weapons were found in any of the scenes and therefore there were no arrests.

My friend had been called to the first scene by another friend, and tried to intervene on her relative's behalf. She was told by yet another friend that she could have been killed because, "These guys have guns."

Late last night while taking Sam-dog out for his last piddle before bed, there were signs of a big drug deal on the corner north of my home. Men came from all directions and met out in the open. They passed something back and forth while shaking hands, and all involved dug in their pockets the whole time. The group then split up. $100,000 cars cruised the streets and slowed down next to those on foot. Were they watching to make sure no one decided to run with the money and the drugs? An ex of mine, years before we'd met, had been shot in such a deal.

I wasn't able to fully drain the dog before I realized two of them were watching me. One started coming my way, so I quickly went inside. Sam peed on the carpet in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Banker's Hours

On Sam-dog's first walk of the day I overheard a fight between a man and a woman coming from behind the bank. "Bitch! Get the fuck out there! Fucking stupid!"

A woman dressed in a sweet pink sweater, nice heels and perfectly tailored black pants stumbled out of a gate. She wasn't crying. She didn't look frightened. She ignored traffic, held a bill in one hand and snorted something from the other.

Around 2:00 p.m. I took Sam for a quick jaunt and was confronted by a few drunks standing on the bank's lawn. "Lady! We want to say hi to your damned dog! Come'ere!" I waved and held my hand to my ear as if I couldn't hear them. After a couple more tries they gave up and dipped into their crumpled paper bags.

This evening, a boy about seven years old was running around the lawn while his mother went inside the bank. He was a hundred feet away behind a tree before she came out. She looked confused, so I pointed toward him and she stumbled off without thanks.

Sitting on the lawn was a group of boys maybe 17 or 18. They had tidy haircuts, were slightly plump and pink in the cheeks, and squinted into the lowering sun. A man with braids to his waist was leaning over them, standing perfectly still, silent. One by one, the boys got up and went to the cash machine. When each would return, they would plop back down. I crossed the street, looked back, and the man was gone.

On my return the man with the braids had another man pushed up against a wall in the bank's entryway. Again, he wasn't saying a word. Sam sniffed at his pant leg as we walked past.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mamas, Take Your Meds

"I don't really like kids, but he has one so I have to cope. They are all vessels of energy and must be respected for that alone, but I don't like kids."

A few seconds prior to the start of this promising conversation, a car had flown past at such a high rate of speed that the gust it created blew Sam-dog's ears back. Then sirens, and the young, adorable police officer I see nearly every day nudged the demon over to the side of the road. He likes to gun the 'bwip bwip' siren even after he's stopped, and gets a little grin on his face before going into professional mode.

Instead of turning tail and heading home, I decided to keep to same direction. There was something out of the ordinary and utterly irresistible going on. A tall couple dressed in goth gear, the man nearly in tears, was standing about half a block north of the scene.

"What's up?" I asked.

"My ex refuses to honor our custody arrangement," said the man. "Her boyfriend beat me up yesterday for asking why, and my kid saw the whole thing."

His long, stringy hair was concealing most of the damage. He moved it aside for me so I could see the half dozen or so faint bruises. The mother's boyfriend was driving the get-away car, trying to leave the neighborhood without handing the child over to the forlorn father, and the father and his girlfriend were awaiting their turn with Officer Adorable.

"It was not at all good," added his girlfriend. "I don't like kids but it was not good."

I looked to the boyfriend for some sort of logical explanation, but all he did was smile in her direction. It was a smile of pity, worry, acceptance, grief and love. Thankfully, he'd begun to describe details of the nasty situation before my facial expression cemented into dumbfounded.

I asked if his ex was by any chance bipolar. It was out before I could stop it.

To my relief, he didn't appear at all offended by the question. He said, "Yes. She's very sick." I shared my story of my most recent ex and his battle with a bipolar baby-mama, and that's why I'd asked. The girlfriend bristled.

"I am bipolar. I have it under control. I am good with it." Her speech was halting, her movements were disjointed, she couldn't hold eye contact and it all started to make sense. I'd guess there was some autism up in that head of hers, too. Always one to over share, I told her I suffer from depression, but take my meds. My ex's ex did not, and drank, and without hesitation had decided to relinquish custody of their three children because she "...couldn't deal."

The girlfriend agreed this was unimaginable, then said, "I don't like kids." No matter how many times she said it, her boyfriend continued to smile his gentle smile and fumble with his stringy hair to cover his bruises. "They are good but not for me. I never want kids. He has one, though." Was that shame in his eyes?

Officer Adorable let the speeding baby-mama-boyfriend go, and U-turned toward us. I said, "Okay. Looks like he needs to talk to you. I hope things get resolved."

"Thank you for caring. You are nice," said the girlfriend. "You are nice," she said again. It started to rain, and she batted at the drops like they were a swarm of gnats.