Sunday, September 07, 2008

the hood

So the remnants of Hanna blew through yesterday. We had some high winds and steady rain but the storm wasn't as bothersome as predicted (the breathless media coverage resulted in runs on local groceries, which of course is the intent of breathless coverage). We had invites from a couple friends to hang out and play boardgames, but the mother-in-law was here so we were socially stuck. I made lasagna and we were settling in to watch movies when the phone rang: the house next to door to Julio--the one we almost bought 18 months ago--was foreclosed upon months back and has been vacant since. Well, not really. During the storm the front door blew open. The latch had been forced. Julio called the cops and they did a walk-through. Apparently people had been sleeping in the basement and in the living room. Whoever was squatting there was pretty respectful. They didn't steal the fixtures or pipes or radiators, they didn't steal the gigantic ornate mirror or vandalize anything. There were bags of cast-off clothing and candles and bedding here and there, and some peanut butter and a tray of 9 mm bullets. The police advised Julio to "secure" the house. If one of the candles started a fire it could be a catastrophe.

So I went up there and helped cover the windows and doors with plywood. We felt bad locking someone who had no home out of a house that had no residents, but I gathered up as much of their belongings as I could and put them in bags out front by the stoop so they could at least retrieve their clothes.

I felt the whole time that I knew who was living there. I saw some things that reminded me of someone I know who lives on the margins, and even his scented oil pachouli odor permeated the house. But I'm not sure. I hope he's ok.

Someone--perhaps the previous owner--had left pages of rants about discipline and overcoming cancer. "Cancer results when cells forget what they are. They revert to their original protean mission, to reproduce like mad. With discipline we can bring our body back to health and remind cells of their true function." This went on for pages and pages. I thought about taking it for my found literary object box, but left it behind. I wanted to take as little as possible from someone who has next to nothing; especially when next to nothing includes a 9 mm weapon of some kind.


Anonymous said...

need some inspiration, check this kid out!

Lil sis

ellen cherry said...

growing up north of DISD, we always heard about how bad the schools were. for such an oil-rich state, the little amount of money that had to be shifted around was pathetic. i used to think DISD schools were bad, until i lived in B'more. this kid is great and like him, i want to "believe." (in B'more!) he understands how being well educated and prepared has a generational, ripple effect.
glad you're hanging in there G. you are doing great work! i believe in you, dood.