Monday, February 27, 2006


So. Yesterday, when I was driving around the neighborhood posting flyers for an upcoming event, I happened upon the tail end of an altercation at Giant in which one man (white, as it happens) pulled a gun on another man (black). I gather the "n" word was used at some point in the argument.

Sigh... The knee-jerk reaction, here, is to want to move far, far away from here. And one day, we might, because we've had a longstanding dream of having a small farm (say, five acres or so). But as far as the immediate issue of crime goes, that really doesn't solve anything. I have friends who live in small towns and tell me about the stupid fights their neighbors have, and the guy two blocks over who was busted for making meth. A friend in rural Maine had the police called on him because an enemy was convinced he was abusing his elderly mother (or something like that). And moving to a rural area certainly doesn't get you away from ignorant rednecks who use the "n" word and pull guns on people.

It's not surprising that there's racial tension in our area; more and more minorities are moving into an area that used to be majority white. But most of the minority families I've met (my neighbors, for instance) are just like us -- middle class, hard-working, respectable people. The one family I was happy to see move out of the neighborhood were white, and could be called "rednecks". They moved, I'm sure, because they were uncomfortable with the increasing minority population in the neighborhood. They had badly-behaved children and a dog who lived in the back yard or garage and howled all night. The family (white/hispanic couple, active duty military) who bought their house said it was a mess inside, and they had to have some baseboard replaced and drywall patched to make it decent.

The truth is, I like my suburban neighborhood, especially now that it really has become populous enough that we have some good stores. And I know my neighbors; whatever their race, they're all middle-class, hard-working professionals. They take pride in their property and they don't have yelling fights in the middle of the street. And, unlike many small towns where the neighbors are intimately interested in your comings and goings, my neighbors don't seem to care (or if they do, they don't let me know). They keep an eye on things, but aren't intrusive, in other words.

The things I wish I could change: I wish we had enough room to put up a workshop for K's woodworking; I wish I had a little more land, for the dogs; and I wish we could keep a small boat under a cover in the back yard. If we ever do find the right piece of land, this is enough incentive to move. But land is getting awfully scarce around here.


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