A Night in The Projects

So I spent the night at my cousin’s place in New York.  The plan was to get up early and leave out with him.  When he went to work, I’d go to “work”.   I put mine in quotes because it involves drinking copious amounts of tea and I can leave whenever I want and I don’t really report to anyone.  Actually, that makes it harder for me in the big picture.  I know no one clocking in with old man Wilson busting his hump wants to hear about the big picture.

I got up early even though getting to sleep was tough.  Not to sound uppity but my cousin has roaches.  He lives in the Projects.  Everyone in the projects has roaches.  It’s not a cleanliness thing. There is literally no margin for error.  A wet sponge can be a supermarket for roaches.  Okay maybe a bodega but you get the point.  One has to be cleaner in the PJs than anywhere else.  And even if your place is immaculate you’re basically temporarily discouraging the roaches. They may skip over your place but they’re still always in striking distance should you throw an orange peel in the garbage or drop a few crumbs while chomping on a cinnabon.  Like sitting in a train car with houligans harrassing people, you do your best and hope they leave you be.

I’m not sure why it affected me so.  I lived in the projects and did battle with the creepy crawlers for the first 18 years of my life.  Was I afraid of roaches or what my brain associates them with? Struggle, violence, failed electronics. (roaches were the first Gremlins except you couldn’t feed them anytime) Or maybe I was worried with what I’ve become.  Someone phased by roaches.  Someone who’s lost his edge.  Although ultimately our goal is to lose our edge.  Sucess has a reverse correlation with edge. It actually took me five minutes to kill a roach.  I forgot how resourceful and tricky they can be. To effectively kill roaches your ruthlessness has to be on swol.  I should also mention that ever since Men in Black came out I’ve been a little afraid that killing a roach could have bigger implications.

This all made a girl named Carmen Soto rush to mind.  She basically saved my life or at least my entire 6th grade year.  See, Carmen sat next to me and once saw a roach come out of my bookbag.  We locked eyes and she said and did nothing.  I was filled with terror and squashed the roach with my hand (I had edge back then.)  Carmen did not blow up my spot and I am forever grateful.  Knowing what I know now about women and people in general, I should’ve proposed to her right then.  That kind of restraint and compassion doesn’t grow on trees.  She was probably fighting the same fight I was.  She lived in the project across the street from mine.  I’m sure she made some guy very happy.  Carmen’s kindess put a smile on my face and my preoccupation with things that go crunch in the night subsided and I fell asleep.  I’ll check my bag thoroughly before I go back to LA.

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