Transfer #7 from Blogspot

Wrong Turns


Today I took two wrong turns. The last wrong turn occured on my way home from work.  I had to spend the day at a different location than normal, and ended up heading south instead of north off the Lodge.  No big deal, as Grand River Avenue was only one exit away, and the traffic headed north on the lodge looked…unpleasant.  So onto Grand River I turned,  only I happened to be further downtown than normal, and I immediately realized that perhaps I wasn't in the, um, best neighborhood.

Unfortunately, this means what it always means.  I found myself in a black neighborhood.  I found myself in a black neighborhood with boarded up,barred up shops covered in graffitti.  I found myself in a black neighborhood with boarded up, barred up shops covered in graffitti, and homeless men just hanging out in the streets, and every car around me filled with boys who should be in school, and the smell of something indisctinct but also bad wafting around the car, like fried food and burning rubber and basement mold, and I felt scared.

And I hated myself for feeling scared.  I mean, no one approached me.  No one even looked at me.

It's just a Detroit matter of fact that when you drive directly in the city, you sort of kind of expect eventually to at the very least get mugged.  This is, after all, a city with over 300 unsolved murders from last year alone – 300 UNSOLVED.  Bad things happen in Detroit.  My parents raised me to believe this , and I always imagined Detroit not as a city but as a whole bunch of scary dwellings under the interstate.  Not as Motown. Or the auto capitol of the world.  And while I work, and work out, and volunteer in Detroit, it is no place I would choose to own a home in. 

Earlier, before the Grand River turn, (and obviously, I arrived home safely) I was at the hospital where I work and I took a wrong turn into a chemotherapy wing.  In this chemotherapy wing was a young black man.  He couldn't have been more than twenty – he had a stocking cap on his head, jewelry on his knuckles, and a chemo drip attached to his arm.  He was drinking a juice box and laughing at something the nurse said while his mom lay nearly prostate at his feet, her head sunk into her arms.  Outside, a young girl, a sister or girlfriend, had her arms wrapped around another nurse and she was crying uncontrollably, just gut-wrenching, awful sobs.  The kind of sobs that stop the world for a minute.   I moved out of the area quickly, because I'm still not quite used to hour after hour in the chemotherapy ward (those doctors and nurses – my god. My god. They deserve, more pay. And awards. Lots of awards) but when I think about that young man, and my drive home, I have trouble putting meaning of both events together, but for some reason I'm left feeling ashamed.

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