by Hagan on August 9, 2002

About a year ago I was listening to this Christian radio show, and a lady was talking about driving with her daughter. I don’t remember the full monologue, but what follows is pretty much the gist of it:

My daughter and I were driving through town one afternoon coming home from a trip upstate. I guess I took a wrong turn somewhere, because all of a sudden, we were in a bad part of town. As we rolled up to the next red light, I rolled the windows up and locked the doors with a loud, audible click. When my daughter heard this, she turned and looked at me. She then said “Mom! What are you doing?”

I was speechless since I didn’t think I’d done anything wrong. When I turned to look at her, she said, “Mom, this is their HOME! Can’t you see that you’re insulting these people by locking our doors?”

And I knew, she was right.

Wait, what? So you’re saying that you’re letting political correctness get in the way of common sense?

Last summer, I had to drive to this bar in DC, and the address said 8th ave, so I hooked myself up with directions from Mapquest.com. I read the address wrong and I took the crew to this trendy section of North East DC, which, if you’re from the area, you know is the decidedly not trendy area of DC. It’s actually quite the opposite of trendy, unless you consider trends in homicides. It’s pretty much the reason that DC was the murder capital of America for the second half of the 1990s.

So I’m doing about 20 miles an hour in reverse down this dead end street in NE, and the last thing I am thinking about are the feelings of the people sitting on the stoops of their government-assisted housing development as they stare at the confused white-boy in his pressed blue button-down dress shirt as he dangerously navigates his Mazda 323 equipped with Thule roof rack and Maine license plate reading DZ NUTZ out from their “cul de sac.” When you hit a dead end in North East DC, you think there’s a likelihood that you’ll be the main character in a scene re-enactment of the part in Clear and Present Danger where the drug lords ambush the brigade of suburbans in the streets Bogota with AKs and missile launchers.

I’m exaggerating a bit, as I tend to do sometimes, but when I roll into North East, I cease to use words like “roll” in place of the more widely accepted “drive,” I try to avoid contact with just about everyone, my windows are rolled up, and my car is LOCKED. I’ll leave my car unlocked when I drive through, say, Bethesda, or pretty much anywhere around here except North East. I’m just playing the odds. Odds that people may learn all too quickly as they neglect their child’s safety when they’re trying not to offend the slums.

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