As I See It 8-10
Friday, June 5, 2009

By Melik

During most of my childhood I did not live in a neighborhood with a lot of people. I lived on a street with about fifteen houses most of which were used as summer cottages, which meant most of the people on the street were retirees. There was one family that had a kid that was my age. Two problems with him however were that his parents were divorced which made him part-time in the neighborhood and he owned a dirt bike. My parents said I was not allowed to partake in any dirt biking activities. Basically that meant summers longingly watching Mike ride his dirt bike around the neighborhood. My father very much enjoyed this semi-secluded living. I loathed the lonely existence.

As time when on I realized I had inherited my father’s solitude at home lifestyle. Even though I was social away from home my thought process was, if I left my neighbors alone then I would not have to deal with them in return. I believed that would make life easier. Just stay out of people’s way and they would stay out of mine. I now realize negative thinking like that makes things worse than they should be.

I have benefited from keeping my nose out of other people’s business however. For example Darius Jackson lived across the street from me. People thought I was crazy when I talked about how he was selling drugs out of the house. They claimed I had no proof. I said any house that has traffic like a local party store has to be doing something illegal. I could sit out on a Friday evening and watch as people would stay for less than five minutes. They would go in seemingly empty handed but for some reason they would scan up and down the street as they were leaving the house and getting back in their vehicles. It was not uncommon to see around fifteen cars in about an hour. If the name does not resonate in your memory you might remember that he was the one that was convicted in February of voluntary manslaughter for his involvement of the shooting death of Justin Weck. Mr. Jackson was said to have given the order to Maurice Clouse to shoot Weck. Mr. Jackson lived with a woman that was pregnant and a toddler. Nice.

A few years ago another want-to-be drug lord threw a party, he was a young white kid desperately seeking to be something other than what he was. Someone apparently got kicked out of the party. At the time my girlfriend’s sons were hanging out on the porch, way past my must be inside curfew. I was awakened by one of the boys telling me that the police wanted to speak to me. After I was questioned and then asked if I would allow them to search my garbage I was shocked at what I saw. The guy that got kicked out of the party left the house. He returned shortly with a revolver. He drove back to the house, let off a few rounds, walked across the street to my house, walked past the boys, entered the house, went to the kitchen, threw the gun away, sat down in an easy chair and started watching TV. The police arrived. I do not know how they came to the realization that the person that they were looking for was lounging in my house like he paid bills there. At two in the morning, I watched as a police officer pulled a gun out of my trash. So much for not getting involved.

Over the years I have gotten to know the retirees across the street from me.  They are the watchers of the neighborhood. I get a little nervous when they are not home. I know when they are there that they are watching over the street and my house. I have come home to them letting me know someone stopped by and did such-and-such.  It has gotten to the point that when I know someone is going to be at my house I let them know ahead of time. They have my phone number and I have theirs. I watch out for them and they watch out for me.

My next door neighbor, Lisa, reached out very soon after she began renting the house. I found out she did not have a lot of household items. I had some stuff that I was not using. I gave her some basics that she was very appreciative of. She gave me a key to her place, just in case. This was completely foreign to me.

Now I am seeing the advantages of being neighborly. Lisa, has a key to my house. There have been some times when I have been able to call her to let my dog out when I have not been able to make it home. She has needed me to watch and feed her animals at times. Lisa locked her keys in her car with the car running and in less than 30 minutes I was there to let her in. We have developed a very symbiotic neighborly relationship. I am going to miss her when she moves.

Over the years I have gotten to know a little bit more about the people that live around me. I see them at the grocery store. I see them at their jobs. I see them at art and crafts shows.  I have learned to enjoy being able to say with a smile, “Hi neighbor.”

For more contact
melik_2001 @


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