I hate to say it and wreck the street cred I've been working so hard to acquire, but I think I'm finally over the novelty of living in South Central. I've been here over a year and a half, which was about a year and a half longer than anyone expected. Sometimes I love it here still. Like when I see the Liberty Tax dancers on the street corners dressed like Statues of Liberty, skipping, twirling, waving, never without a smile. Sometimes I hate it, like when I get accosted in the drive-through at McDonald's by people asking me for money. Then there are the times at the laundromat when I'm simultaneously frightened and amused by the colorful characters that stop by to do the laundry or sell pirated DVDs and/or tamales.
This is what happens at 10pm on a Thursday night.
My neighbors set old Christmas trees on fire
in the middle of the street. Classy.
I hear the most hilarious phrases from passersby (as my door is exactly two feet from the sidewalk and there's no insulation). Which while loud and irritating, is also great fodder for comedy. One such conversation I overheard part of the other night around 11pm. My friend Eric has been crashing at my place for the past few weeks until he moves into his new apartment. Since it was Friday night and he is not an old fuddy duddy like me, he was on his way to a sexy party that didn't even start until I was pleasantly tucked away in bed. (I also had to work the next morning, so that also explains why I was not going to the sexy party.) I woke up just as he was locking the door to this conversation:
Ext. South Central Neighborhood - Night
A stylish young black man locks the door to the heavy iron screen door on an olive green and red tile apartment building. ERIC (25), is somewhat of a hipster, but not the obnoxious kind so we can forgive him for this association. He also likes boys. Like, a lot. That's important to the story. Two young ghetto girls dressed like hookers approach him.
GHETTO GIRL 1
You locking up?
GHETTO GIRL 2
Where you going?
To a friend's house.
(Ed. Note, Wisely not
mentioning the sexy party)
Eric starts walking towards the bus stop. The girls follow him, wobbling a bit in their high heels, obviously intoxicated. (Ed. note. This was all I heard. Meanwhile I was panicking, thinking he had been talking to my landlady. I'm probably not allowed to have guests for this long, since she pays the water bill. But I went back to sleep shortly after my panic attack. What follows is the story Eric told me later on.)
GHETTO GIRL 2
What's your name?
GHETTO GIRL 1
My name's Janae, but everyone
calls me Little Vicious.
GHETTO GIRL 2
And everyone calls me Baby Vicious.
Eric tries not to snicker under his breath and keeps walking.
You cute. I would totally
Oooh gurl, me too. I
would lay it on you.
That's nice. No thanks, though.
What's the matter? Do you
like boys or something?
Is it that obvious?
That's ok. We like other
Yeah, we even have gay
BABY VICIOUS takes out her cell phone to show Eric pictures of their gay friend.
Yeah he's cute too. I
would totally lay it on
him if he weren't gay.
We could call him, and
hook you two up if you want.
That's ok. I actually have
to go. Nice talking to you.
BABY and LITTLE VICIOUS
Bye Eric, sexy!
A shiny old school cadillac pulls up to the sidewalk blaring a repetitive bassline so loud it shakes the foundation of the olive green apartment building. Baby and Little Vicious squeal and teeter over to the car. Eric walks faster. He may be African American, but he's afraid of black people.
That story makes me so happy for some reason. I get hit on all the time here also. But in the five years since I've known Eric, I've never heard him being so brazenly propositioned by females. He's just so out of his element here in the ghetto. We both are, I suppose. But that's not the reason I've decided to move. I'm a big girl now, and I think I deserve a big girl apartment. One that has a separate bedroom and living space. An apartment in which I can actually fit a whole couch instead of just my big blue comfy chair. Somewhere I can have friends over, or flying spaghetti monster-willing, an actual party without having strangers sitting on my bed. It would also be nice to not have people be afraid to come visit me like my sister-in-law who was genuinely nervous to bring my then six-month-old nephew to visit. I would love to have a place that has an actual heater and air conditioner so it's not miserable six months out of the year. Somewhere with a full size refrigerator that isn't just barely bigger than my microwave. Ideally it will be somewhere with my own washer and dryer, and an easy parking situation for both me and any guests I might have. I don't want to have to commute longer than 10 minutes to work. That's the big thing. And I also don't want roommates. Overall, I don't think it's too much to ask for. I just wish moving wasn't such a pain. Let the apartment hunt begin!
So long, South Central. It's been real. Real what, I don't know. But real nonetheless.