I know. This isn't my typical self portrait. But what this picture is about is more important to me right now. These are my feet standing in the middle of my street. This is the asphalt right in front of my house. At 2 o'clock this morning. A man was shot right here.
I heard the entire thing. You all know I don't sleep, and at 2 o'clock this morning I was laying in bed, lights dimmed, with my headphones on, enjoying a little music. That's when I heard gunshots.
There is a woman who lives across the street from me, a couple of houses to the left. She and her boyfriend have an incredibly dramatic relationship. I've never even seen them, but I have heard several screaming and yelling fights in the street. I definitely know more about their relationship than I care to, and so does the rest of the neighborhood. Its like a soap opera over there. They just can't seem to get along. Last weekend, in the midst of a fight, he sped out of the driveway in his truck and rammed her car...on purpose. I've never heard a woman scream like she did. She was attacking his truck and yelling at him through the driver's side window. You'd think he'd run over her dog or something. He sped away and left her in the middle of the street, still screaming after him.
You'd think that after multiple public screaming and yelling altercations and your boyfriend purposefully crashing into your car, you'd decide that things just weren't working out and maybe, i don't know, breakup or something. Apparently thats not the way everyone thinks. You know, rationally. I'm not sure how things escalated this time. I'm not even sure that the woman was involved. I never heard a word out of her. All I heard were gunshots. When I took off my headphones, I heard another gunshot and several men yelling, running and speeding off into the night. One of the men had been shot. I could hear him yelling "I'm hit. I'm hit!". I'm assuming he was only wounded because he was still running and yelling. As his friends were shoving him into the car I heard them saying that he was bleeding everywhere.
At this point, I'm sitting indian style in my bed, being very quiet. I was even breathing slower and softer. I was listening, waiting to hear what would happen next. There was no way I was going to look out the window for the fear that I might see something that would scar me for life.
As soon as they drove off, tires squealing, the street was again quiet. Just as it should be at 2 in the morning. Just as if nothing had happened. Then, the calvary arrived. Police were everywhere. In cars, in SUVs, in a helicopter with a spotlight, on foot with flashlights. They swarmed the neighborhood like insects on a rotting animal's corpse in one of those time lapse videos you'd see on the Discovery Channel or somewhere. They were spotlighting houses and cars, looking in the street, knocking on doors. It was all quite the scene. I watched them scour every inch of the block looking for....well, I'm not quite sure what they were looking for. Blood? Bullet casings? You know, evidence. Maybe I've seen too many cop shows. A little while later I nodded off to sleep with cops still deep into their investigation.
All of this just takes me back to my previous statement. Something is not right in the world right now. People are doing crazy things and reacting in irrational, violent ways. What possesses a person to try and kill someone in the street? Over what? A woman? Money? Hurt feelings? Drugs? Respect? Apparently respect is a really big deal. What is going on in this hypersensitive, overreactive world? Oddly enough my reaction to this situation wasn't fear. It was sadness. Sadness for these people and the chaotic, over dramatic, stressful lives they must live. What kind of life is that?