Get Off My Lawn
June 13, 2006

I posted last week that I'd had a great post idea on Thursday and then promptly forgotten it. Well, after hanging out in the shoutbox at Blogmad (again) the other day, Capn Platy reminded me what it was.

Back in 2001, I lived in the 'hood. I was just a few blocks south of Notre Dame, but it was SO the 'hood. Little known tidbit (unless you know a lot about gangs or about South Bend, Chicago and Detroit): South Bend, Indiana, is considered a halfway point between Chicago and Detroit by the Crips and the Bloods. And probably other gangs and I don't really wanna know more about it. Suffice it to say, there's a lot of gang activity around here. And, in 2001, we had a crack house across the street from us and a whorehouse back behind us. In fact, early that summer, I was standing outside talking to my elderly next-door-neighbor when we heard a commotion. A lady started running down the alleyway, barefoot, barely clothed ... and a somewhat more fully dressed man was half-heartedly chasing her. Before I could spring into action (forgetting momentarily that I'm not a superhero and that my other half would kick my behind if she knew what I was planning), my neighbor put a hand on my arm and said, "That's one of those whores from the house behind you."

I blinked rapidly. The man saw us watching, and resignedly walked back and let the woman go.

With my spidey-senses no longer tingling, I relaxed and looked at my neighbor in shock. "Whorehouse?" Who says 83 year old women are not observant? I'd totally missed it. I mean, I was really tired of people parking in the alleyway behind our house, but I completely missed the fact that it was only men ... lots of different men ... and that they were all visiting the same house. Where there were lots of women apparently living. Oh. Yeah. Huh.

The crack house across the street was more obvious, even to me. Something about the red light in the porch on some evenings and the green light on other evenings. And then there were the green light conversations that went something like this:
"Man, you gotta go into the alleyway ... can't sell out here on the street."

That particular crackhouse did not last long. It was, of course, replaced by another one later.

So all of this is to set up just exactly what kind of neighborhood I lived in at that time. A bit rough. So when I say the neighborhood children were not scared of much, you have some idea what I mean. One of the women who lived in the house behind us, regularly had her children climb our fence to cut through our yard. I don't know why. If you went down just one more house, you were at the corner and didn't need to cut through anyone's yard. And our fence was not easy to climb, either. It was decorative wire ... too sturdy to bend easily ... not sturdy enough to climb like chain link. Too high for an adult to step over. After a few weeks of this, the fence was finally beginning to droop and I eventually had to take it down.

Unfortunately, after that, the neighborhood kids thought playing around our dinky, crappy little shed was fun. It made me nervous because our landlord had moved that rickety thing from who knows where and just kind of plopped it on the property. It was seriously falling apart. I'd already gone out a few times and tried to shore up falling supports and replaced a few slabs of walls, but I always thought a good wind would knock that sucker right over.

So the kids are playing tag around this rickety thing and I can just see it: the freaking shed falls on one of them and the whole neighborhood comes after us.

Now, I'd yelled at the kids to "GET OFF MY LAWN" so to speak, a few times before. To very little avail.

But in the spring of 2001, I was undergoing the ESHAP chemo protocol in preparation for a bone marrow transplant. And I'd lost most of my hair. And shaved my head because I really am not very vain, but watching your hair fall out in chunks is just NOT a fun process.

On a whim, I opened the backdoor, removed my now ever-present ballcap and screamed in my deepest, most authoritative, "scary" voice:

Hehehehehe. They paled. They freaked.

I took a step out onto the tiny cement back porch.

And I took a second step out to the yard.

They flew.

Was the only time the neighborhood kids ever listened to me. Even if I did feel a bit like Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace.

Apparently bald white women screaming out their back porch is utterly terrifying to the fear-less children of the local gangs. Who knew?

Posted by Red Monkey at June 13, 2006 5:10 AM | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


mwgrl5 said:

As always, too funny! Thank you for another gratifying laugh!

June 13, 2006 12:12 PM


Beth said:

The apartment building I lived in for 2 years had a few teens living with their parents during the summer months while college was out. Right before I moved last year, I had my first "I can't believe I'm old" moment. The chicks above me would not turn their stereo down. I could hear it in my apartment-it knocked pictures off the walls, not to mention when I opened my door it echoed throughout the building. I called my landlord several times, he of course did nothing. One night they were scooting chairs on the floor for some odd reason. This is when my mom said, "Beth, you're getting old and acting like a cranky old lady with cats." Yeah, well, I was a cranky almost middle aged lady with rats. I even pounded on the ceiling with a broom to no avail.

June 13, 2006 2:21 PM


blueyes said:

Scaring kids these days is the only way to get through to them...they used to walk by my fence to jump a ditch behind my fence at my last duplex and tease the dog and I nailed their little butts one day by flying out of the side door and yelled at them that I better not catch you going through here again or I was going to call the cops for trespassing. They were older kids, never saw em again guess they must've already been in trouble with the law. I've lived next to drug dealers, adjacent to them, actually lived with one until I found out he was dealing in our apt and then left. They are everywhere!

June 14, 2006 6:38 AM


Invisible said:

Great story, as always. I'm trying to go to actual blogs to read rather than just reading off my bloglines, as I never bother to comment when I do that.

Kids don't respond to politeness from adults. In fact, I secretly believe that they WILL NOT respond to adults who don't yell. I was walking down the street the other day and heard a little girl screaming and a mother's quiet, pleading voice and came upon these two, daughter screaming, mother leaning over and saying, "Now, honey, use your words to say what you want," in a sweet and pleasant and patient voice. The daughter (maybe three years old), promptly smacked her mother's chin and said, loudly, "NO!" "Well, okay then, nice job, see?" says Mom. Now if it were my kid...I'd better not put that in writing.

June 14, 2006 9:09 AM
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