Sometimes, I wonder suburbs or city when it comes to the kids.
There was one day I had picked them all up near First Son’s school. I had Dad with me. We were in the middle of crossing the street toward our building, when I saw three middle-eastern looking gentlemen beating the heck out of this light-skinned African American/latino young man. They chased him into the street until he fell and curled up on the street, curled up like an armadillo with all three men wailing (or whaling?) on him with sticks of wood. This was happening exactly on the corner we were headed to.
I tried to turn back, but my dad was the one pushing the stroller. Since he can’t hear out of one ear, see out of one eye, or think normally with his dementia, he did not respond, I panicked but pushed us through. First son was walking, and each Wonder Twin was in the upstairs/downstairs seats of our double-decker stroller. As we quickly hustled past, I kept my eye on the tumbling men but also the kids. All three heads swiveling to see the action. They were riveted.
When we went upstairs, all three kids got into a punching fight. I rushed over to them, and said “No, no, no, we do hit. Hug, come hug, isn’t that better?” After I split them up, I hugged all three at the same time. Then I gave everyone a cookie. They seemed better after that.
I was still distraught when I went to rehearsal later that night. A caucasian lady in her thirties or so got on the train with her friends, and you could tell the whole group had a lot of personality. The train suddenly lurched to a stop and the lady fell onto a seated passenger. As soon as she could, the lady jumped up and apologized so sincerely: “Oh god, oh my god, I’m so sorry, my ass is so big!”
And the entire car burst into laughter. The lady was plain adorable and her ass truly was quite big. I could not stop laughing. I laughed for three stops. I laughed till I cried with the African American grandma sitting next to me, who couldn’t stop laughing because I was falling apart. I laughed with the Latino construction worker who was seated across for me. It was one of the most amazing laughs I’ve ever experienced. It was too bloody funny.
When I got off the stop, greatly relieved by the laugh but still a bit bruised by the incident we witnessed, I went to 16 Handles before rehearsal and got a colossal frozen yogurt with like eight toppings. I just needed it.
I grew up in the suburbs so i can say it is true that I would never witness the violence I saw that day on a suburban street corner, but it is also true I have never experienced the moments where I feel closeness, connection, and affection for the entire human race in a suburb. I have gotten to experience that feeling where I feel like I love everyone in the city over and over again.
So no b’urbs for me, Husband, Parents, and Little Ones for now.