In the ‘Hood

 I’ve lived in at least a couple of the world’s great cities, but where I am now is a very eclectic little piece of the planet . We have, to name a few, a former mayor of the funkadelic town, Baltimore, (home to an amazingly high ratio of good movie directors,) an artist, a physicist, and a husband and wife who are both pilots, which around here means they guide the huge shipping- container-sized ships into port.  When the weather is fine, people will stroll down to the water at the end of the day with a little cocktail in hand, or maybe with a cute little kid on a trike and a Chesapeake Bay retriever in tow. You can walk right down the middle of our streets because it’s quiet and everyone drives slowly and watches out for kids and dogs and joggers and cyclists. It’s post racial, meaning it’s about half black and half white and everybody is very live and let live.

But the guy who really interests me is the unsuccessful drug dealer across the street. He’s a very gentle seeming guy, even with the pit bulls, but he doesn’t seem to be able to get his business off the ground.  I don’t think he sells any heavy drugs, because the customers that come and go don’t look scary.   But he’s definitely in the biz.

For some reason, a lot of the action is really early in the morning, and as I am an early riser, I sometimes lean against the counter in my kitchen with a cup of coffee and watch the activity through the window.  The reason I think he is not successful is that he never seems to have any money. The house isn’t too much of a mess, but it’s pretty basic - a kind of upgraded double wide. I think his grandmother left it to him. Every few months, the police show up and cart him off, and he neither goes willingly nor puts up too much of a fight. My understanding is that the thing he was caught for was running illegal cigarettes, or maybe it was stealing a few packs of smokes while he was high on PCP. But his demeanor is kind and he is well spoken. I believe his dad is the principal of the middle school.

There was a terrible altercation recently involving one of his pit bulls and a teacup Yorkie, and you can imagine who came out on the worst side of that one. I am a fervent dog lover, but somehow I couldn’t get mad at my neighbor, and the doggie is recovering, thank goodness.

I find myself wishing the best for my neighbor, hoping that his huge 70’s type car holds up (he gets in accidents about as often as the police show up for the drug busts) and for his pregnant girlfriend, who I’m pretty sure is off the meth, and for the dogs, who they have finally started to take on walks around the neighborhood. I hope he gets his business sorted out, because let’s face it, when you’re a felon, you don’t have a lot of choices, even if your dad works in the school system.

But he makes it even more interesting around here, and I can mull over what he might be doing, driving off at 6.00 on a Sunday morning, only to return an hour later.   A bit later the joggers and walkers start appearing, and in my neighborhood, the day has begun.