Sunday, June 14, 2009

What's happening in YOUR neighborhood?

In OUR neighborhood, we have sidewalk chalk swastikas, gas station air guitar and pedal-by shootings.

I love our neighborhood. It's a quiet street with quaint little houses and relatively well-maintained yards. It's a family- friendly neighborhood in a great school district. Yet it still remains that we live in central Phoenix. And that will be made known.

Owen is good friends with Zack- a neighborhood boy. I think I have mentioned him before. What I have never mentioned about Zack is his affinity for all things German. Once, when riding in our car, he said "I don't like the American flag, I like the German flag. When I grow up, I'm going to work for the Germans." Did this raise a red flag? Yes, indeedy. And I don't mean a red flag with a white circle and a black cross whose arms continue at right angles.

But he is such a sweet innocent boy, I knew that he didn't really know what he was saying. I ignored it. I ignored it when he came home from school one day with a swastika drawn on his arm (apparently his teacher doesn't see the same red flags I saw). But when I walked out my front door one afternoon and found my driveway covered in sidewalk chalk swastikas, I decided to take action. After I quickly hosed down the whole driveway, I had a long 'discussion' with poor little Zack. A discussion that involved my finger in his face. If nothing else, I at least made it clear to him that I don't want any more swastikas on my driveway.


The other day I took my Young Women to the corner store for some candy bars (long story). I sent them inside with some money, and as I waited in the car, a man exited the gas station. This man was dirty and hairy, dressed poorly, and riding a bike. No surprise there. But as he walked to his bike (parked directly in front of my car) and set down his mysterious "brown bag" that contained his corner store purchases, he proceeded to give me quite the air guitar performance. This was no joke. His head was as to better concentrate on the fingers furiously plucking away at his jeans pocket while the other was high in the air constructing chords. This was the longest guitar I have ever seen. And he was not messing around. He did stop periodically to look around with a drunken smile, and then continued on with his five minute song. It worries me that watching him brought a smile to my face. But I will readily admit that I sighed with relief when my girls were safely in the car.


The other night at around 9:30, Nathan and I heard several loud, sharp noises. We thought that it was someone rapping on one of our windows. We ran to the front of the house and looked through the blinds to see some of our neighbors standing in their driveway. We walked outside and joined what quickly became a neighborhood block party formed to discuss the gunfire that we all heard. Then, the young man who lives down the street came out with his gangsta friends and nonchalantly told us (and soon thereafter told a policeman) a story of a guy riding by on a bicycle and firing shots. A pedal-by shooting. Since this neighborhood young man had recently been released from prison, we were all pretty darn sure that he was somehow involved in this shooting. It is so funny to me that half the neighborhood stood around with this guy and his friends and expressed their outrage while he pretended to be a part of us. I still have no idea what actually happened. He was taken away in handcuffs later that evening, but walking down the street early the next morning. Apparently whatever his story was eventually checked out. But that certainly doesn't make me feel safe living on his same street.

So....what's happening in YOUR neighborhood?