It’s no Sesame Street.
In the foreground we have a quartet of people I absolutely adore. Let’s give them a fancy photo treatment so they stand out.
The blonde head is Yago of course. He’s dodging dog poo with his best buds David, Alberto and my only neighbour-friend, Sonia. This is what I love best about our neighbourhood. It’s a tight-knit community and the streets are full of life. The days here are predictable. I always pass the same characters going about their routines. It’s interesting and colorful.
Maybe a little too colorful.
For example, the quartet in the background. I don’t adore them quite so much. So let’s give them another fancy photo treatment so they fade away into the background. Basically, I Photoshop them with my mind every time I go outside.
Sharing liter sized beers and rolling hash cigarettes at the playground.
They’re harmless. They wave and say hi to the kids. We don’t live in a “Bad” part of town.
The guy on the right sells lottery tickets. We have the same conversation every day. When he spots me he marches over, sticks his face 2 inches away and yells,
“Come on lady, just buy a ticket, would ya”.
To which I reply drily, “No. Never.”
Forgetting that we have had this conversation every day for three years he says, “Not even one?”
Right on cue I say, “No.”
They he huffs and puffs and marches off to the next person and yells in their face,
“Hey Mister, Come on, dude, just buy one.”
Then he stops for a drink and smoke with whomever is currently drinking and smoking at the playground.
These vignettes are the background of my life here. When I leave the house in the morning I expect to see someone drinking on the steps. I know the playground will be full of dog crap and garbage. This is now my normal.
Do I want my kids to think this is normal?