Monday, April 12, 2010

It Takes All Kinds

Those of you who know me know that I may live in Cincinnati, but I don’t LOVE Cincinnati. I complain about a lot of things. I’m trying to become more positive. I hope that, someday, maybe 85 percent of the words I speak will be affirming, optimistic, glass-half-fullisms. But that’s someday.

When you live in the Queen City, you must either embrace its complexities—fascinating and thoroughly disorienting, the way I imagine having a deep relationship with a bisexual person might be—or you must have one sick case of willful ignorance. I have neither, so I settle for chronic , if measured, displeasure. There are great things about this city. But there are many shitty things about this city.

Take today, for example. Driving to work, a guy in front of me at a light calmly opens his car door, places a Colt 45 tallboy on the pavement, and closes the door. Like waitstaff will come along shortly to pick it up.

Turns out, surprise surprise, our neighbors—and I use “neighbors” loosely, meaning “people who constantly drive through our neighborhood”—include drug peddlers. Though dealing drugs IS a home-based business of sorts--Flexible schedule! Be your own boss (sort of)! Meet all sorts of interesting people! Unlimited earning potential!—it’s also ILLEGAL and attracts UNSAVORY characters. And they park in front of our house. These qualities might make playing porchmonkey more INTERESTING—you know, DRAMATIC, SUSPENSEFUL--but drama isn’t what I’m looking for in a neighborhood, if you follow me here.

So E and E, and I, dressed as we were, were having a great good day today, eating lunch on the lawn, horsing around, ringing the doorbell, eating sand. All the usual stuff you might do if you’re 32, or 2, or 0. Of course, along with the food, and toys, I’ve brought out a pen and paper, just in case I see something interesting I might want to recall later.

Nothing transpires, of course. But when I get home from work tonight, Jay gives a full report.

Not only the two main cars, but a third car this time, and they all sped by twice. Our casual talk now includes druggie details, scenarios, speculations. Jay’s an expert on it, from my way of thinking, because (1) he has watched “The Wire,” and (2) well, that’s my only reason.

I explain that I sit outside with a pen and paper, and sometimes a camera, because the local PD said that tag numbers would be helpful.

“I don’t think I’d make it obvious that you’re taking pictures. Or writing things down,” Jay says. “They’ll know we’re watching them.”

What I should’ve said is, “Well, I don’t think THEY should make it obvious that they’re dealing drugs. If they don’t want people watching, they should go somewhere WHERE THEY WON’T BE SEEN.”

But it was more like BLAH BLAH BLAH Damn it I’m taking pictures BLAH BLAH BLAH. What I was trying to say is that, damn it, the cops don’t care, the dope fiends don’t care, and the local civic association looks the other way because property values are—whisper it—de-li-cate. These people can suck it.

The whole city, it seems, turns a blind eye on bull like this. I KNOW it’s hard for cops to catch these guys. But that doesn’t mean I should PRETEND I don’t see it. If you are reading this, and happen to BE one of the drug dealers, then YES, we’re watching you. You make us unhappy. I’d like you to secure gainful, legal employment and cease tearing ass through my neighborhood.

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