I returned home after a Friday night of babysitting. Generally my daughter and I do this together, but she was away for the weekend. All the money we earn doing this [side gig] goes toward her exchange trip.
When I reached my street, I realized it was the evening for the Night Market. It’s held in a parking lot and blocked street and attracts a mostly young, trendy, dare I say hipster, crowd. Basically, a bunch of people who, for one night a month, pretend they live in the neighborhood. Irony. You might ask how I can assume they do not live in the neighborhood….. For one, there were many, many cars parked along the street near the market. I must derive if you live in the general vicinity, you would have walked. And if you believe in the mantra of the type of people this event mainly includes – you wouldn’t drive a few blocks on a lovely evening. Environmental concerns, exercise, all that….
Upon reaching my home, I decided I should water my flowers. My front porch became the observation deck for domestic discord across the street. A man in a car raising his voice at a woman standing outside the car. Me thinking she ought to go inside. Me hoping she wouldn’t get in the car. Also hoping my other big, strong neighbor who lives next door to this house would enter the scene. No such luck. Me wishing one of the police cruisers that frequent my street would pass by. No such luck. Finally, the male renter who lives in the house in which this was happening in front of, comes out, gently places his hands on the woman’s shoulders, and guides her into the house. Man in car begins yelling at him. Tells him the woman’s not such a great person. Begins calling him a name you’d only use if you still believe the South will rise again. The car pulls away.
The man who helped the woman? He’s thin, the owner of a small dog that when he takes for walks, he carries (no leash). He’s not what you’d label a force to be reckoned with. But he [manned up] and got the woman away from her male “friend”. Ironic.
The woman directly across the street is a single mom. Her (at some point) husband has been (at some point – maybe now) incarcerated. Yesterday I delivered pool passes to a young man’s family. He’s in one of my workplace’s youth programs and he won the passes (a door prize) at a fundraiser we recently held. He and his mom and sister recently moved out of my neighborhood into one close by. Something about his dad getting released from prison. Single mom. Cares about her kids. I’m so glad he won the pool passes. She made her son come out of the house and tell me thanks.
Then it hits me. I am a single mom now. Different, no father of my kids in jail. But the same. Same label. Ironic.
The church I attend is not technically in my neighborhood. It’s downtown, a short drive. I walked in this morning to the sound of church bells. It’s Pentecost Sunday, and this congregation enjoys the celebration of the day. Red, orange, yellow. Balloons and an extra large choir. A special ceremony that goes along with the theme. I left after the service, and walking to my car noticed a homeless man sleeping against the cathedral building. We just celebrated the birthday of the Church, and all the while he’s outside, alone. Asleep. Irony.
Mind you, I do not hold ill will towards the folks who attend the Night Market. I’ve been a few times and it’s fun. I’m simply a little put off that a bunch of folks are celebrating the neighborhood all the while maybe not actually knowing the neighborhood. Not comprehending ugliness like I encountered my neighbors experiencing. Likewise, I don’t blame the congregation there’s a homeless man outside. It just struck me. It also strikes me that I just might have as much in common with the moms in our youth programs as I do the woman who lives across town. Who has a good job, a college degree, a son in college, and a list of goals she stresses trying to reach. Or maybe we all have more in common than we think. Which is ironic too.