Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tales from the Hood #1: Point of View

I'm starting a new periodical here on my blog called "Tales from the Hood". It will be my brief or lengthy (but mostly brief) accounts of the "ghetto" shit that happens here in the hood.

So to start off, I live in the Mission District of San Francisco in a small little alley called Clarion Alley. The first thing you may notice if you are a blind man is the smell and then the sound of the living energy of the alley. It is an organism that lives, breathes and excretes.

It is 1:28 in the morning as I write this passage and I just heard another urination process but I will go into that in a little bit.

There is a wind that runs through this alley like the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and is as continuous as the rise and fall of the sun. The strength of the wind climaxes near the entrance to Valencia street where another place of climax, Good Vibrations, is to the right, a thrift store meets you to the left and right in front is a police station. On my end of the alleyway is Mission Street. It is a friendly place where wanting something can make you friends. Everyone is always kind and asking if I need something.

It's odd, the courtesy and service on Mission Street is non-existent on Valencia Street. I find that I get asked for more money on Valencia Street than on Mission Street. I did not mention this prior but there is a night and day, black and white difference between Valencia Street and Mission Street. Valencia Street is comprised of furniture stores that carry unique furniture, hip restaurants (this is my first time EVER using the word hip), bars and shops while Mission Street can be compared to what Mayor Nagin of New Orleans likes to describe his city as, "chocolate city". It is literally one block of separation that divides the two opposites. But yes, the irony I wanted to highlight is that I more often get asked for change on Valencia Street rather than on Mission Street, and instead of being asked solely to give on Valencia Street, on Mission Street I am asked to give and then receive, or vice versa.

Outside of my window about fifteen feet or so on the opposite side of the alley is a fire escape. My neighbors urinate off of it mainly during the night, sometimes during the day. I don't know why and I can't ask them because they don't speak English and I don't speak Spanish. One night on my way out downstairs, it was windy and my neighbor was peeing. It was misting on me. I made gagging and vomiting noises even though I wasn't actually vomiting or gagging to let him know the disgust I felt. I felt bad for Jessica that came out the door with me. The smell of urine is the most familiar smell in the alley. When I now smell urine, it triggers a memory and feeling of home. Damn.

There are other smells and sites as well. In the corners lie feces as if a mailman or mailwoman (?) delivered on a regular basis. Familiar are those of condoms, syringes, broken glass, bottles still in their brown bags and trash. Also, the site of visitors photographing the murals while enjoying the scent. Despite the weekly pressure washing and frequent street sweeping, no one gives a fuck, and the alley only maintains a few minutes of cleanliness a week.

Freaks come out at night. Have you seen I Am Legend? Basically creatures come out at night and make a shit ton of noises and this repeats every night. You get the point and the comparison. Sometimes I see people smoking crack in the early morning when I am on my way out to school. The only thing I can say to myself is "they like to party" or "he or she is a party animal".

I forgot to mention but here is a store where they sell crack. I like to think of it as a home business that is like 7/11 but only sells drugs and sex. It's only a few doors/feet away and it is quite a theatre/stage for my entertainment. This "store" beats The Hills and all those other useless reality television shows hands down. I'll throw out a few key words: hoes, hoes for sho, cops, po-leese, fuzz, crack and bitch. Sometimes I have friends come over to come and watch. The best time to watch is usually after going out when you've had a few drinks and everything is more funny and intense. And plus you feel sneakier when you are drunk for some reason. Also, the building across where they pee off the fire escape that makes loud water falling sounds, they enjoy watching porn in groups... Porn and baseball. It's funny to come across them watching porn together. I'll be doing the dishes and look up through my window and see them kicking it with some vag on the screen with some p going in it. Shit is casual as fuck. I just got reminded of that episode of Friends where they get free porn so they sit around and watch it and won't turn it off because it is free. But yeah, shit's entertaining.

Here is "The Store":

... it's always funny watching hands reach out through the bars to "shake hands"

and here is my place to the left, the fire escape urinal to the top right and "The Store" further down and to the right.

I think this concludes my first entry of hopefully many to come in this series.


On my way out last weekend, my neighbor (down the hall from me in my building) was drunk as shit in the alley in front of the door. He was shirtless, barefoot, standing near and possibly on glass and holding a foot long knife in his hand. He seemed looking to kill a mother fucker. I spoke to him as I would any normal (sober) day so he would calm down and then I was like, "So what's the deal with knife?" And then he looked at me like, "Oh shit. I am standing here barefoot, shirtless, standing near or possibly on glass and holding a foot long knife."


No Rush said...

you are so lucky to live on clarion alley. that's history.

Anonymous said...

have you thought about moving?

partykitten said...

cant wait to come over!