A morning lie-in. Check-in at choral rehearsal. New shoes. Tea with Jennifer Johnson Cano. Walk by the Dakota. Drink with Loo. Dinner and Amalie with Robert Riordan. Walk by the Wisconsin basketball team at the Westin. Get my watch fixed at SWATCH in Times Square.
Just another Friday in New York City.
From the subway:
From the hotel, morning and night:
I’m back in New York City, this time with 53 students and a few colleagues. The students and colleagues perform at Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon.
I had a double delight today.
Loo Kia Chun was a dear friend while I was at Kansas 20 years ago. He happens to be in the USA right now. We met Thursday afternoon for a first visit in 13 years for a most joyous catch-up.
And then later Thursday, I met up with one of my favorite Ball State University Singers, Luke Meyer. We saw the hilarious farce The Play That Goes Wrong.
Nineteen years ago today . . .
June 28, 1938 – March 23, 1998
I don’t like this.
I do not desire this feeling of being besieged.
I do not wish to continue being worried when I see a young black man on my street.
But damn — the shadow side of my usually upbeat disposition is in overdrive right now.
Yesterday afternoon, my keys were stolen from the front of the house. I saw three black boys run from my porch (I was in the kitchen and heard a noise) and escape down the street.
These boys obviously live nearby (most likely on the other side of Kingshighway), because ten minutes later they were back, with two others, and pushing the button on my car fob, trying to find which car that key worked.
They saw me on the phone as I stood in my front door, and they ran.
Ten minutes later, they were back, but this time in full view of a half-dozen neighbors who had witnessed them running earlier, neighbors who were now standing guard and watching these teenagers preen in full view.
The boys clearly don’t have any sense of consequences, or aren’t very smart, because we all saw what they were wearing, what their hairstyles were, and especially their youth — 14 or 15 at most.
The police finally showed up after 30 minutes and four calls to 911. The boys bolted.
Today, a neighbor ran three of the same boys out of the alley behind my house, but ten minutes later, two of them were back, coming from a different direction, acting nonchalant. I took photos of them. Four neighbors saw them as well.
Their brazenness — in daylight, with people watching — is stupefying.
The police finally arrived again.
I’ve had my house re-keyed, and the car will be re-keyed tomorrow. 911 has been roundly called by several of us (although that has not helped police response times, which are dismal).
Meanwhile, every young black man who walks down the block is getting scrutiny, and I’ve turned into my grandmother, peeking out of the drawn blinds.
I purchased a club for my steering wheel tonight.
This, I do not like.
My bleeding-heart-liberal wants to see good in others, and wants to wonder what in the family or in society allows these kids to think that grand theft auto is acceptable, or a part of any future they can imagine. What allows these kids to think that any kind of theft is an agreeable action?
But then I realize that these kids, for reasons understandable but unfathomable, may not see any future at all.
And they are kids, without the ability to see too far into the future.
I get all of the cause/effect that sociologists and psychologists will explain. I can do the ‘splaining myself.
Then, the converse:
The shadow conservative in me, so long kept under wraps, wants to break their kneecaps and then castrate them. Or at least pull their fingernails out of the thieving fingers, one by one. This is the ‘I don’t like this’ feeling — I do not like lumping an entire group, of any kind, together, just based on the actions of a few.
But that doesn’t make their actions any less fear-inducing, and I don’t like that feeling either.
I’m torn between redoubling my commitment to ‘live urban’ and a desire to flee to someplace where I won’t feel like I need to fear black boys walking down the sidewalk.
Meanwhile, the alarm is on. Blinds are drawn. Outdoor lights are on. Neighbors have verified that their video surveillance systems are working. SLUH is checking its video camera log from Monday.
And none of us on Lawn Place are appreciative that our little community is being disrupted by four or five thieving delinquents.
I don’t like this.