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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

dad in the 'hood

Friday, September 17, 2004

i went for my inaugural run around the neighborhood a couple days ago. ordinarily i wouldn’t have waited so long to take a first running tour, but extenuating circumstances extenuated themselves, so the run had to wait.

a few observations…

this is not a “tough” neighborhood. it won’t ever be mistaken for the ‘hood.

though it’s within shouting distance of downtown seattle, the only sign of street cred is the proximity to the railroad tracks to the east. yup, some of the railroad cars definitely have graffiti on them. further north there’s a whole lot of “water cred.” that’s where the fishing terminal is, see, and some of those guys on the boats look pretty serious. if they were a gang they’d be “the eviscerators.”

the people strolling along the water-view boulevard are unambiguously suburban. high on the bluff, their homes survey a broad expanse of elliot bay. the water is dotted with sailboats, and washington state ferries endlessly trundle out and back.

these “view properties” are not inexpensive. i’d go so far as to say they’re lavish and luxurious. we do not live in one of these homes. rather, we live in a smallish, bungalowish brick house, away from the water and away from the views. it’s sort of the “bad part” of the neighborhood, by comparison.

here’s the thing: part of the reason we wanted to live near downtown was for the urban diversity. what i saw on my run was a whole lot of white folk.

don’t get me wrong, white people are okay. i’m one of them, so i can’t be too hard on us. but suburban white people are prone to being kinda milquetoast and blasé, and i don’t care to have that rub off on me. to paraphrase cleavon little in ‘blazing saddles,’ “where the black people at?”

today i found at least one place: the local community center, playing hoops. along with some asian people, some latino people, and some white people. Everybody is walking around showing off a little somesome, trying to prove they’ve got game. i’m not talking about some young kids firing up 3-pointers every time they touch the ball. no, these guys (and one strong young woman) go straight at you, and you either D up or get the hell out of the way.

the gym has an attitude about it…but it’s mostly a non-threatening attitude. nobody there will advise you to “step off, bitch.” instead they play you straight up and sincere and everybody gets some respect.

so even with its well-manicured views and its trappings of caucasianality, my ‘hood has a little street cred after all. i like it.