Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | December 29, 2006

changing of the guard

When I first moved into the neighborhood Irf told me that the neighborhood was turning over. The lower income homes are being demolished as new town houses are built on their lots. We looked out the window and watched a drug deal go down.  The dealer planted his scouts to be on the look out for cops.  Wide eyed with curious stupidity I laughed because they use NEXTEL as a means of communication.  The neighborhood is indeed changing socio-economic paths but I didn’t realize how very slow this process is.   This area of Houston is not necessarily a bad part of town, it’s under redevelopment and I’m off the same street that L.F.C. and I.W.S.I. live on. Only, I’m on the other side of the tracks. Literally.

Week 1: Sitting comfortably on the couch I watched as five men are arrested and the cops raid a house.  Two days later I arrive home and find the neighbor across the street’s 1983 Oldsmobile car with all four windows broken in.  Calmly I walked upstairs, peeked out the window, and felt comforted as a cop car arrived.  Irf called and I told him what just happened.  I peeked out the window again and starchly noticed a man in handcuffs squirming in the back seat of the police cruiser.  “Holy shit!– this is way better than watching cops. It’s my own reality TV. version.”

Week 2:   5:00 am I wake to the sound of a car alarm going off.  This was to be a noise buffer for the five gunshots that followed.  I told myself they just shot the bad guy and pulled the comforter tighter around my head, crawling back into my cocoon.

Week 6: After arriving home from the gym I see a mess of cop cars and a truly sad site.  A brand new white Jaguar was being towed. That alone is pure tragic. I wave to Erwin, town home neighbor across the driveway, knowing I will get the full story at a later date.  The next day Erwin and Irf tell me “A crystal meth lab was in the house at the corner and was busted, oh and two strippers are moving in to that new town home.”  Lovely.

Week 7:  Desperately trying to forget that Christmas was but two days away, I sat on the floor reading my book when I hear BANG –BANG a brief pause –BANG.  3 shots fired.  Bewildered I was, but not surprised.  I tossed the idea around in my head and did exactly what you’re not supposed to do in this type of situation, peek out the window. What if I needed to call an ambulance? This was not the case.  Three cars were stopped in the road each pointing a different direction when suddenly they pulled away from one another faster than a speeding bullet. Two of the locals nonchalantly walked up the street.

Christmas – Irf, roommate, joked that he had a bullet proof vest upstairs if I wanted to sleep in it.  Favorite Ex-boyfriend told me I could borrow his gun so I would fit in – in the hood.

Week 8:  I woke last night to the sound of the train’s horn. Shortly after a loud bass stereo blasted the sounds of TuPac as it approached our street.   The music stopped and the commotion set in.  Verbal smacks were tossed and left to hang in the open air like a firecracker on the verge of exploding.  I then heard doors slam, the bass returned, the car pulled away.  Silently I sat thinking, ‘well, I suppose they are holding down the neighborhood,” when I realized the car with the bass merely drove around the block and was approaching the corner again.  More shouts and threats were tossed when I heard a BANG.  Jumping out of bed I crumbled into the fetal position keeping the bed, glass doors, ten feet of lawn, and Iron Gate between me and the outside world. 

Having never been one to be scared of situations or people for that matter, a choice was to be made. I could be scared of the neighborhood thugs or make friends with them. First I’d wave to them then I’d ask stupid questions like, “Do you know when the liquor store on Washington closes?” I’ve sat and talked with them and heard their stories.  One is an ex-NFL player, one owned his own business, one a factory worker, one who doesn’t know what else to do so now he’s self-employed (in sales no doubt), the list goes on.   They have a nickname or two for me, “Little Momma” or “Red”    You may ask why I don’t call the cops and quite frankly what happens if I do? I’d get on their bad side and we can’t be having any of that.  The cops do patrol the area in the day and make themselves scarce at night.  In the past few weeks there has been less activity on the street and more police patrolling the area on a regular basis.  Irf will tell you it’s due to pressure from the builders. I don’t know what to tell you and  one of the local thugs will tell you, “Man, I don’t know what’s happening to the neighborhood.”


  1. Wow. Such an exciting life you live.

  2. And folks that was Sass reporting from Bagdad, I mean Houston. Darn, I stopped blogging 9 months ago!

  3. Remind me not to get lost in your ‘hood next time I visit H-Town.

  4. Look at you Wonder Woman!!!

  5. It’s been eventful on this side of the tracks as well… big gang fight at el tiempos. Well, not “at”, but IN. Duck! Oh my.

  6. yeah, and you take WAY too long to find your key to lock the gate after chad and C peel out cuz they don’t want to wait around…ha ha…i parked my car out there for two days hoping somebody would steal luck..

  7. And you live there why again?

  8. Sounds, um, dicey.

    But, yeah, you probably are better off not calling the cops if they’re afraid to come around at night. Better to “take care” of one, as an example, than to call targets, er, police, it sounds like. And, better still to just not get involved but be polite to *everyone*.

    Or move. There’s always that. I know it makes me a heretic, but the gun play on New Year’s Eve is why I moved outside Beltway 8. Nice and quiet in Jersey Village.
    Stay safe, Red.

  9. I wish I’d had the guts to live a life like yours, Sass. BTW, sorry you got pulled over. I hope you were able to talk your way out of it!

  10. There are druggies in Houston? My new co-worker is from Houston and she makes it sound like nobody does drugs there. I think it’s because she lives in the ‘burbs.

  11. I forgot how I got here already but reading that reminded me of my neighborhood before half of it got evicted. What a weird flashback.

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