How much is enough?

Most of my neighborhood is crap.  The house to my left has been empty for over a year, when it was repossessed.  The last scum tenant had been paying the landlord for six months, during which IT HAD ALREADY BEEN IN BANK CUSTODY; the landlord is scum.  The previous three tenants were trash.

The house to my right will be vacant soon;  the one leaving is the lady who said “You have some nice things here.  Is your house hard to break into?  Do you have an alarm? Can you get upstairs to the bedrooms quietly?”

The house on the other side of her is a drug house.  Their plumbing is leaking so much, raw sewage is going into the side yard.   The city’s response?  “Don’t let kids play in the side yard.”  They have a family of raccoons living under the front porch, which come out at night & early morning, and dump out the garbage cans.  Two neighbor’s dogs have died from kidney failure, from bacterial infection from either the sewage or more likely, the raccoons washing their food in the standing water.

Luckily so far, it hasn’t come as far as my house (doesn’t need to), so I’m praying Ike is safe.  I told the neighbors to be ready for a gunshot, in case it does come down.

One of the few neighbors who is trying to work for a living came to me this morning, asking if I had an old battery for his car, and any scrap metal. He’s trying to 1.  look for a job after getting laid off,  2. get to his lawyers, to try to see his kid whom he hasn’t seen for three months, since his drug addict wife won’t bring him to her (the last time he saw the kid, he waved at his dad’s car from outside the rehab clinic).  He has a bunch of problems of his own, but at least HE’S trying to get past them, and get his life straight.  But I also have a good ear for B.S., which was half of what he was feeding me.

I gave him about forty pounds of aluminum cans I’d been saving for months; I have a car battery at work I’ll see if he can charge, or trade in for a different one.

I wish life could go back to normal.  I want old neighborhoods, where you can dangle a coffecup from your fingers as an invitation, instead of as a signal that the heroin has been cooked.


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