Tuesday, November 10, 2009

False Alarm

I just don't fucking get it.

I dropped my son off at school this morning, & as I walked across the street to retrieve my daily coffee fix, I paused outside of a Church's Chicken to light my Newport. I figured I'd finish it before I head to the doughnut shop, because if you live in the 'hood, you know smoking a square at the doughnut shop is like wearing a t-shirt that says, "HEY, I'VE GOT FREE CIGARETTES FOR THE FIRST 25 BUMS THAT ASK FOR ONE!". Which, I clearly don't. Or, I get hit with my personal favorite, "Do you have an extra cigarette?", to which my response is, "nope, just the normal twenty that comes in a pack". I usually say eff it & give them one anyway, because who am I to stop them from killing themselves? Misery loves company, per se.

As I'm puffing away the seven minutes off of my life span, I notice a kid bopping up the street towards me. I sized him up [||], & he seemed relatively harmless, as most kids seem these days. Skinny jeans make it harder to hide a weapon. He walks up & goes over to the bus stop, in front of me, while the Church's entrance/exit is to my back. I was thinking to myself, "damn, all these kids must shop at the exact same place," because they all wear the same shoes & what not. But, perhaps I'm just getting old(er).

The door of the Church's opened, & by instinct I turned around to see who or what was coming out of it. Another kid, appearing slightly less harmless but just as un-masculine, exited the building rather quick & aggressively. Like I said, the bus stop was in front of me, about 6' away, & the door was behind me. I'm old enough to know when something's about to happen. Sixth sense is mandatory in "urban" areas.

The Church's kid, who was about 6' 1", maybe 160 lbs, was focused on the harmless kid, who had his back turned to us.

"Aye Cuz!" the taller kid barked, as the bus stop kid turned his head & glanced. The bus stop kid's balls must have tripled in size at that moment, because he ceased to be harmless immediately.

"Grape Street Watts", he said calmly, with his chest out, as an apparent mixture of fear, assertion & pride washed over him.

"Great," I thought. Whatever was to transpire would undoubtedly happen within arms distance of me. If young dudes wore cologne, I'd have been able to smell theirs. All I smelled was underage weed smoke & hopelessness.

"Oh, okay", said the taller kid. "False alarm." The smaller kid stepped toward the other one & introduced himself, & they exchanged "pleasantries", before parting back to their corners. Then, the once harmless kid asked me for a cigarette. Normally, I don't condone youngsters smoking, but I have come to realize that growing up on the streets of South Los Angeles usually entailed growing up quite a bit faster than in many other cities. At the most, the kids were 16, but had probably had the stress levels of 40 year old men. So, I gave him a smoke. He said good lookin', & disappeared into the sea of unknowing young people, to & fro, headed to their destinies, however bleak they may be.

The first thing that caught my attention was that the kid in Church's was obviously in there looking for trouble. Not on the way to school or work, but willingly on a search to be detrimental. Equally as noticeable was the bust stop kid's backpack & appearance that he had somewhere to be. Yet & still, their differing paths crossed in a way that could've dramatically changed their lives.

Luckily, he was from the "right" neighborhood. What if he hadn't been?

It took a lot of restraint for me not to stop them from walking away & talking to them. Realistically speaking though, they haven't been listening to whatever guidance has been presented to them for years, so what the fuck is some nigga standing around going to get them to comprehend? At this point, we seem to have a total generation that is completely lost. Compasses, moral or otherwise, don't seem like they'll help much. I shudder to think that my son will have to grow up in such a declining society, but the future doesn't look bright, so the best I, & other like-minded individuals can do is to equip the children with the necessary weaponry for primal survival. It goes beyond getting a proper education. It means social skills, the abilities to observe & respond, thinking ahead & rationally, preparing for the worst & still, somehow hoping for the best. Not to get all ominous, but this might be the point of no return. & finality knows no color lines.

The school my son goes to is a pretty decent one. But I've heard the same thing from his kindergarten teacher, assistant principal, couple of administrators, various parents, & even his present first grade teacher; he doesn't belong here, he's bigger than this school. While that makes me, as his father, feel good, a part of me feels sad for the kids who, as they inadvertently said, don't really have a chance. As the foundation crumbles, so do the walls it's attached to.

I haven't given up hope just yet, but, it's not looking positive. & to think, I'm one of those people who still believes in something.


Kiana said...

wow that could have been ugly. i wonder what kind of trouble that kid got into today. it's hard trying to figure out how and when to talk to some of these kids. I get frustrated all the time. Stay hopeful though.

Capital G said...

I've been trying in earnest to come up with something to add that might further the conversation but you summed it up in the first line. "I just don't fucking get it."

As an adult I'd like to see the next generation get their collective shit together and do something worthwhile. What I am seeing instead is the youth using ignorance as a measuring stick of how "hard" they are, while looking like Kid Cudi stunt doubles in the process.

If anything, this should have taught you to keep it moving when smoking a square. I'd rather tell a bum to fuck off than duck shots from confused kids in bright clothing. Lord knows I don't want to leave the Earth having my last images be a bright flash, loud bang, and fuckin skinny jeans.

Don said...

Usually they ask for a stogie then ask for your belongings. U got lucky man.

But I used to be like them youngin's, real talk. But my home rearing made me know to still go & pass classes, go home @ some time and study, & take care of B.I. Procrastination was not tolerated in my household.

Sh*t I even had one of them state work permits for minors when I was in HS. I wanted to get away from the pj's and a train ride everyday to/from Manhattan was therapy. Plus the paycheck was the onus bonus.

But as I grew I noticed balance.

For those who succeed there will be similar those who fail. Everybody ain't gonna make it or be good. All we can do as mature citizens is to drop a jewel here and there. If they respond, you've done your duty. If they don't respond, you've done your duty.

As I saw this, I made sure I instilled the same habits in my seeds that I was taught. How to see what's around them & not only what's in front of them, because just like there are many clowns on the internet with the nonsense, there are just as many off the keyboard & taking notes. Balance.

Not too many people have those "spidey sense", "wonder twin powers".

And SMH at those who say you don't learn anything on something called an "information superhighway".


Tony Grands said...


I agree, back in our day, robbery wouldve immediately followed the panhandle.

But these young boys around where I was ain't thinking about the come up. That makes the situation that much more pathetic.

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