Friday, July 9, 2010

A Letter

Dear Friends,

I have a story to tell you. Two weeks ago I threatened to kill someone on the side of the street. Allow me to explain.

I was building shelves in my apartment. Actually, I was stacking shelves. Cinder blocks, then wood, then more cinder blocks, then more wood. Not the most complicated carpentry. So it's the middle of the day, a scorcher, and I'm carrying a cinder block down my street (naturally there were no places to double park by my apartment, leaving me to drag block after block like a little worker ant).

So I'm carrying my last block. I'm dripping, sore, and overall very agitated due to the heavy amount of lifting I'm doing on a hot summer day. Basically, now's not the time to test me. And that's when I see them...

A group of white kids in their early 20's. Now I hate to have race play a prominent part of this story, but unfortunately it must. My neighborhood is mostly Dominican, you see. And my street is practically all Dominican. Although this has never caused a problem, for my neighbors have always been very sweet and kind, I still sometimes wonder if they resent my presence.

Back to the story...

So I'm caring the cinder block and I see the group of white kids. They're dressed very silly. No, not like hipsters, just very silly. And I'm not here to judge people's fashion, mind you, but I will say that after living in my area for over a year, I'm guilty of resenting these particular people for moving to the neighborhood.

And with my hefty cinder block I now waddle in between them. That's when one of the girls, the silliest one of all, scoffs at me. It's a scoff that says, "Excuse me, don't come near me with that thingy you're carrying!" And then she proceeds to look at her other silly friends and laugh.

Did I mention this wasn't a good time to test me?

So instead of continuing on my way, I put the cinder block down, shake some sweat of my body, and say this:

"Well, how about you get out of my fucking way or throw this at your head."

I don't know where this came from. I'm not a violent person; never even been in a real fight, but something about these kids really set me off, and after my harsh words their scoffs and laughs quickly turned into them scurrying down the street with their silly clothes dangling in the sun behind them.

And that's when I noticed my neighbors. This whole scene had taken place in front of a dozen people just sitting on their porch, and above them about a dozen more people sticking their heads out of their windows. They're just staring at me - at my tired body and my heavy cinder block. And then, amazingly enough, everyone starts to clap. They're all speaking in a language I unfortunately don't understand, but by their cheering and body language it's obvious I'm getting a standing ovation. So after a moment of catching my breath, I just smile back, share a giggle, and continue to my apartment.

Now I'm not proud of yelling at that group of white kids. Honestly, I'm a little embarrassed to have snapped so easily. But you know what? If threatening a cinder block to the head is what wins my neighborhood over, then I'm happy to line my apartment with fresh, new shelves.



  1. Love this! :) Classic NY moment!

  2. this is amazing. I LOVE this story. tell the one about the guy wanting you to stand in his spot! I love that story too! I'm so happy you're helping us make friends.