Our neighborhood has been having some troubles with hordes of teens cruising our streets. They won’t get out of the way for traffic, cuss out the neighbors, break windows, ring doorbells at 11pm, and beat the crap out of each other on my front lawn. Goddamn kids. Why can’t they fight in the park like we did when we were rude, angry teenagers?
So we had a neighborhood meeting tonight. Denise, the lady across the street that’s taken the most shit from these kids, is going insane and wanting to move away so something had to be done. Denise has spent a lot of time talking with our alderman and the decision was made that we need to organize. Denise, her kids, TJ, Micah, my dad, and I went out and passed out the flyers Denise made. Just about everyone we spoke to said they’d be there. We heard a lot of “those damn kids are outta control!” and “we gotta come together as a community” – you know, a lot of solidarity talk. But only a handful of families were represented at the meeting.
Anyone who’s been involved at just about any level of community activism knows that people want to be a part and they want to help but when it comes time to actually give up that precious time, few make it out the door. And believe me, I’ve been on the ditching out side of things more times than I care to admit. But we all come around when we feel we have to. When it reaches that certain level that makes it more advantageous to participate than to stay home and rest. For some it takes more. When you work two or three jobs, the level of shit you’ll put up with to use that hour for something you really need to do – or maybe to sleep – goes up. But me, I’ve hit my level.
We can’t afford to move and, frankly, we don’t want to. We like our neighbors, love our back yard, like our house, and Grandma & Grandpa live less than a minute away. We’ll fight to keep our neighborhood safe. We have to.