4.01.2006

Someone To Watch Over Me

The good thing about my neighborhood: There are a lot of cops. The bad thing about my neighborhood: There are a lot of cops.

Every time I pass one, which is a least twice a day, I still can’t help but feel that urge to make sure my seatbelt is fastened, that my hands are on ten and two and that I’m driving the speed limit. The do-good law abiding citizen in me wants to make sure that I don’t get pulled over. But, in the back of my mind I know that I never will.

The cops aren’t out in full force because they’re looking for speeders or people without their seatbelts on. They’re actually out fighting crime. Having grown up in middle class American suburbia all my life, it’s something I’m not really used to. I don’t think that I’m na├»ve about my “transitional” neighborhood, as my husband and I call it, but I still can’t help but be surprised when I see three police cars, lights swirling, around the corner from my apartment doing a drug bust. Or when I’m lying in bed, about to go to sleep at 11 o’clock at night, and I hear what sounds like eight gun shots fired within a couple of blocks of where I’m laying.

I mentioned that last incident to a friend of mine last week who doesn’t live too far away. “Did you hear them?” I asked. She didn’t. “I tried to find out what happened in the paper today, but I couldn’t find anything,” I said. She gave me a knowing look. “Wait until summer,” was her tired reply.

Although we live in this “real” neighborhood, there are only a couple of times I can remember feeling scared or even unsafe. Last week was one of them. I was thankful that my husband took Harper out to use the bathroom earlier than usual that night and that I was safe and warm in my bed. I drifted off to sleep that night, like so many others, to the sound of fading sirens. It was comforting in a way really, just knowing that someone was out there watching the streets.

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