Thursday, August 03, 2006

Man Up The Street

Man Up The Street,

I watch you as you come out of your mother's house early in the morning. I watch as you puff on your cigarettes and look to nowhere. You're in your early 40's, but you dress as if you're in your 20's, long baggy pants and long baggy t-shirt hanging down to your knees. I've watched, and laughed, as you've called your girlfriend and girlfriend's daughter a bitch. Not because it was funny (maybe a little) but because I knew she'd cuss you back and return an hour later for more, as her hoochie daughter stood outside--legs spread open--and did the wind and grind to music that pumped from the car. Not that color matters, but to see this 14-year-old white girl dancing to dancehall music out in the front yard in a predominately black neighborhood is a sight to be seen.

Man Up The Street, I remember when you ran into my mother's car and didn't want her to call the cops because you were on probation. Man, I've known you my entire life. I can remember when I was about 10 and your father's (God rest his soul, he was one of favorite neighbors) car fell on top of you. Since then, you've been imprisoned way too many times for me to remember (at times I wonder if that car knocked the good sense out of you). Mostly I fear drugs and liquor might be to blame (and maybe even those cigarettes). It's like you're an immature boy trapped in a man's body.

I must admit, while I was pregnant, watching you in action, yelling at your girlfriend, was the highlight of my day. I've entertained my family members many times with the authentic way you say the word BITCH.

I must go now. Not because I have things to do, but because I plan to go to my window and see if you're still outside puffing on that cigarette. I missed you while you did your last stint in jail, and I'm way too happy to see you back, pacing your elderly, sickly, bedridden mother's driveway. You give this quiet neighborhood a little spunk. I thank you for making my long days interesting. And hey, if old age doesn't kill me, your secondhand smoke will--I love having options.

Your neighbor,