Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Monday, September 19, 2005

Dissecting My Life Part 2

So now the question remains, if my friends and close associates aren't the ones affecting me then it must be my living situation.

I am currently sitting in the waiting room at a medical center 2 small towns away from where I live. The doctor is Russian American; the staff is also from that region. There are older ladies and gentlemen that have appointments with the doc, I'm waiting in line to be seen and it won't be long. The suburbs is the shit when it comes to seeking medical attention. The only thing is... I'm the only brother in probably a 3 square mile radius, so everyone is looking at me funny. It dosen't help that I'm wearing a suit, but rocking my hair and accessories that keep me uniquely afro centric. Because I conduct business in a corporate environment, I am a suit. A lot of folk ain't used to seeing that, especially out here in these parts. I'm kind of getting used to the looks and stares, but seeing as I injured myself at work and I cut my day short to follow proper workers comp procedures, I was asked for insurance information 3 times. As if I'm up in here, not making any money sitting around a lot of uncomfortable folk for nothing. Trust is a big issue with me, and I don't know why I moved to an area where I am the least seen and most wondered about.

I moved from the city 2 years ago. I thought that I was doing the right thing by leaving all of the concrete and steel behind. Another thing. I needed quiet. Not the silence of the forest preserve, but the silence that the suburbs have to offer. No sirens, no loud car stereos, no niggas hanging on the street corner keeping up racket at all hours of the night. I love my people. I only speak for myself, but I write for the enjoyment of all of us. I felt that I needed a little solace to help my creative side grow. I knew that there would be risks in a black man living where few African Americans lived, but I did not know that it would be like this...

I live in some non-descript suburb now. Getting to and from populated hotspots is very easy, seeing that every road leads to and from you here. All of the roads in the opposite direction push you further into lavish properties, the finest schools and exclusive shopping. It was where well to do's first settled when the big city became overcrowded and industrious. The land out here is actually prairie, surrounded by lakes and streams. It was the perfect place to build a home back then, and its current carnation is still very beautiful and spacious. No tall buildings or overabundance of traffic and concrete. The suburbs is a perfect place to enjoy all the amenities of life and still have wildlife very close. The natural boundaries are respected, and the shopping and nightlife is damn good too. There are is a mix of Arab, Indian and Asian people (as well as a ton of white folk) that share this space. There are a few African Americans in these parts, I'd say about 15%. Segregation is a word not used out in these parts since the Freedom Marches. People are scattered everywhere. Homes, apartments and trailer parks (like you've never seen, spacious and accommodating) is the make up out here. People are friendly and crime is low. Nothing ever catches fire out here, unless someone overbuilt a campfire, so to hear a siren is unusual. There is one big problem out here. It is lonely and desolate for anyone that is not like "them" to exist out here. It's not that I'm black; it's because I'm different and I might cause change that people avoid me like SARS. I kid you not; I've experienced more ignorance and close mindedness than racism living in this particular suburb. The Hindu population sticks together and will help, but you have to extend a hand first. The Asian cats and their families are cool; a lot of younger cats hang with whomever they please. The Arab families are hard working, family oriented people that respect your space.

No one communicates with me. I find that to be suspect.

The cops are predominately young, white cats. Now from my experience, these cats have not been taught a damn thing about tolerance or differences and it shows in the way they speak to people, anyone for that matter. When I first moved out here, I got pulled over damn near every other day and had my motives and actions questioned. Of course in certain instances, I acted a damn fool and was let go. In other circumstances, I was taken to lockup and "held" until I got a clean background check. Since I retained the services of a lawyer, those stops come far and few now. They never scared me and I think they now know that. Some folk were intimidated back to whence they came, but not I.

Because my locks distinguish me from every other brother or sister out here, I think people now at least know that I exist. As much as I shop and consume like the next middle classer, a lot of the neighborhood brood know me when they see me. You can usually tell when a person is genuine and not out to slit your throat, and since I haven't robbed anyone or hijacked the local video store, the comfort level of my neighbors is at an all time high. The fact that most of the nosey neighbors see me as "the suit" commuting to work everyday, respect is given. I do have the occasional "can I touch your hair?" question while standing in the line at the grocery store, and I am afraid to be left alone in a room with a lot of the neighborhood housewives. I already know what they're thinking. I see the looks and hear some comments supposedly made under their breath. But it's 2005 and there is no shame. I have had proposals, and if I was dirty, the whole damn block would have little black ass babies running around. It's that bad. I just shake my head, not only do I not want another cat's woman, the last thing I need is to be indicted for rape or assault, or even worse, to have Maynard's whole bowling team dragging my ass from the back of a pickup...

I miss the city, but I do not want to go back. The cost of living is higher. Crime and accidents raise insurance premiums. Property cost is either too high in exclusive neighborhoods, or nil in bad ass ones. You either get one or another. Fuel costs are higher; there is an additional tax on soda, cigarettes and dining out. Parking is a nightmare, and traffic... No comment there. I do feel that where I live, kinda' like feng shui has everything to do with overall happiness and success. I know that I need to make some changes how I live and that means where, I just don't know what to do or where to go. I do not have a relationship with my family, and I do not want to take steps back, put my tail between my legs and go back there. I was raised in the hood, right down the street from the projects in the belly of the beast. When things get quiet, I reminisce about hanging out late and being part of the noisemaking crew. Sometimes I wish I could just roll out and hang. I also miss the 24 hour access of the city. Nowhere but in the belly of the beast can you eat, drink and hang out at bars, clubs and diners all night long. Something in the city is always open. Out here, things shut down at 9pm.

I also miss being in my element. I guess that's kind of a misstatement. I wish that there were more black-owned businesses and things catered to me out here. I have to travel very far to experience things like that these days, and that saddens me that I can't go to the barbershop and chop game with the homies. And every now and then, I would like a little soul food, or a gyros or something! A little penny candy won't hurt, and maybe I would like to pick up a 40 when I don't want a 6 or 12 pack. These are just little things I know, but there's nothing like getting schooled by some old school cat about our history and in chess at the same time. And even sadder, everybody out here has gas grills, so the summer smells are very different. I really miss the hood. I also miss the new anti-gentrification movement going on with my people as well. As I left the city, there were a lot of areas becoming more and more gentrified, that's when some of the brothers and sisters that could afford to came back to the hood from suburbia and opened shops, galleries and cafes as well as building and buying properties not meant for a lot of us to be able to afford, causing a renaissance of growth, revenue and jobs in the community. I want to be a part of that or at least support it in some manner. Out here, very hard to do. I work where I live and my weekends right now are dedicated to my projects. I feel like I'm stuck.

OK, I've gone on a little too much. I guess you get the picture, I looked at my friends and now I'm analyzing how and where I live. I don't know if I want too many things at once or if I should just stand pat living where I live. A little help please?


Anonymous said...

I feel you on this one. Yes, I will be leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the city when I move to Dallas. Being in Dallas, is akin to being in the burbs, even the hood is not as gutter as the one I'll be leaving behind. But I will have to make my home in Dallas and if that means opening Chi Town businesses there to gimme the feeling of "home" then thats what I'll have to do. That's what you will have to eventually do, make home "home" and only you know how to give your new neighborhood that "home" feeling.

NameLiar said...

I can't leave this city at least at this point. I love it to much.

The Brown Blogger said...

That's what I thought...

Anonymous said...

Shouldn'ta took yo' BLACK AZZ OUT THERE!!! I TOLD you not to take yo' it. LMAO!! You know I luv u tho' and you'll be back in the city soon enough. And when you do, MacArthurs, Ranalli's, Clark's, Blue Havana, the Hot House, low key Mexican food joiunts, and the stanky movie theaters with all the loud ass black people will be here waiting for yo' ass. As will I.

The chick who knew you when you wuz skinny!