I had just spent my morning frustrated with my neighborhood crime and lack of support/security, so I drove to the nearest affluent neighborhood to get in my morning exercise. Yep I was a neighborhood traitor this morning, but I just wasn't in the mood to get hit on by a drunk guy, and I really just wanted to be able to think, not have to be acutely aware of my surroundings.
As I started my walk, I looked around at the multi-million dollar homes and began to wonder how long it would take the police to get there if an alarm went off. I would be willing to bet it is a lot quicker than 15 minutes. Which got me thinking about all kinds of injustices between the haves and the have-nots. Let me just give you a picture.
Most mornings I will walk/jog around my neighborhood. The sidewalks are not at all maintained, there are scary dogs in most yards, and I can usually count on being hit on by at least one intoxicated male along the way. Because the sidewalks aren't stroller-usable, I am forced to walk in the street which can be incredibly frustrating because sometimes people do not yield to pedestrians. I usually get passed by cars going entirely to fast for residential streets. I also end up picking up a stray dog or two every once in a while.
This morning, the dogs were on leashes or invisible fences and their owners were picking up their excrement. On my 45-minute walk I was passed by a security truck patrolling the neighborhood and talked briefly with a police officer (on bike) who was also just in the neighborhood to be a presence. I also encountered a few others pushing strollers and a few bikers all who smiled and waved as they passed.
Here is the thing. The sidewalks...not the resident's fault...it is the city and since most of my neighbors don't vote or pay much in the way of taxes, we don't get things fixed. The dogs, they are in the place of security guards or police officers who are just being a presence. I bet if there was a police officer on my street, the drunk guy wouldn't walk by (or he would be taken in to sober up).
Some things that I bet you wouldn't find in that multi-million dollar neighborhood that we have: My neighbor going to the house with the alarm sounding because the police were taking so long, to make sure everything was okay, neighborhood basketball games lasting all day, neighborhood kids asking if they can do your yard work so that they can buy school supplies (sad yes, but what responsibility!), an entire block helping fix one neighbor's car that won't start, borrowing lawn equipment. The thing about my neighborhood is that we may be the have-nots as far as possessions, but could go up against anyone in community. See the thing about not needing anyone is that you don't have to have community. It is a trade-off, one that I'm glad I'm on this side of...as long as I can still go on a walk to the good sidewalks every now and then.