Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Try this on for size.

And just think about that bit of road in front of your house. All the life that passes by, the drama that unfolds within earshot or eyesight of your front door. Does it ever look like my street?

My street is cosmopolitan, metropolitan, thoroughfare of the unlikely, accidental tourist. Except I might be the tourist, and my experience here some days is definitely accidental.

Had I a camera at the time, you might believe the story I will tell. Since I didn't - have a camera - you might think I make these things up to try and get you to move in next door. You would be wrong. Certainly there are better ways to advertise for my neck of the woods.

But if you are reading this, it is likely that I do want you to move in next door.

Matt and I are standing on the driveway talking about any number of things we would like to do to the exterior of our house to make it look a little less ghetto-ish.

This is a challenge for a house situated squarely in - and I say this with absolute respect for the neighborhood and community I call home - an indisputable ghetto.

While we talk we hear music approaching in the distance. The kind of music that conjures visions of a souped up, lowered frame Cadillac Deville with shiny chrome trim, gold hubcaps, hydraulic lift, and a little statue of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" hanging from the rear view mirror.

Something like this, vibrating with the kind of base that announces itself several blocks before making an appearance in front of your house.

This car is no stranger to my life. It does actually cruise by every now and again thumping its thump to say hello. . .or beware. . .or ain't we some kinda cool. So I figure that's what's approaching while we stand in the driveway.

It turns out to be another kind of cadillac.

This kind.


There are two boys, both look to be at the latter end of teenage-ness. Both of them wearing ill fitting denim shorts/culottes - because they are not pants and couldn't be called capris. Just big, baggy denim things that showcase whatever manly undergarments a teenage boy wears. And a wife-beater up top without any effort to conceal that particular undergarment.

One boy is pedaling that cadillac bicycle, in recumbent splendor. Leaning way back on what I have always called a banana seat - which my blue, 1982 hand-me-down Schwinn had - and his arms reaching way out in front to grip the elevated handlebars.

There are two speakers affixed mysteriously in the space between the handlebars.

Yes, speakers - the sound part of your home Hi-Fi system.

There is a sub woofer in a trailer attached at the back of the bike.

This is no shoulder mounted ghetto-blaster from the 1980's. This is a proper sound system that would presumably be installed in the body of a Camaro, if only a Camaro were to be had. These boys could very well be in the pre-driving years though, so the wheels they are sporting are probably wicked cool within their circle.
Oh heaven. . .the idea of multiples of this duo. . .absurd.

Because here comes the other boy. He is running; trying to keep those strange pants up, trying to keep his untied, black, hightop sneakers on, trying to keep up with his personal trainer slash sound studio. It's a latino Rocky Balboa moment. Rocky running up and down some really big stairs in Philadelphia, Rocky punching a bag hanging from the rafters of a barn, Rocky hefting an oak tree through Russian snow fields. This boy is preparing for the fight of his life.

I should stop him and make him tie his shoes. But that's so motherly. He's focusing his energy on manhood right now, making muscles, producing testosterone.

Presumably, Dolph Lundgren Jr. is on the east side of town in some Gold's Gym using the high tech equipment and an ipod to ready himself for the fray that looms. He best remember that he'll have to cross the train tracks for this fight.

My money is on the homeboy running past my house. Of course my money is on the homeboy. We're from the same hood. We're practically family.

That is where I live folks. There are people here who've "got my back." I like it that way. Never dull. I just wish I knew where to go cheer for my homeboy.

What did you see on your street today?