the velvet underground

our neighborhood makes the news

News services across the country are telling the story of Keyshawn Johnson's unfortunate mugging yesterday afternoon. Johnson was robbed after stepping out of a Berkeley barbershop. A police spokesperson noted that it wasn't known why Keyshawn was in Berkeley in the first place ... he also said of the area where the mugging took place that "It's well known for drug activity and for a certain amount of violence."

Well, if you walk one block east and one block south from my house, you'll be at that barbershop. If you've ever received a package from me via USPS, it came from the post office in the same block as the barbershop (like you, Sue, with that package which hopefully has arrived by now).

We've lived in our current house for more than 16 years, and this might be the first time our neighborhood made the news. Of course, now no one will come visit us, since we live amidst drugs and violence ...

Not that the police are absent from my street. Twice in the past ten days or so, in fact, they've made appearances. First, I saw them when a friend pulled his car into his driveway a coupla doors down ... the cops were right behind him, ready to bust his ass for who knows what. Once they saw who it was, they apologized, saying they mistook him for someone else. Yeah, right, you know all black folks look the same. Then, a few days later, somebody got conked in the head with a baseball bat or some such object, and what seemed like the entire Berkeley police force turned out to catch the perpetrator. While this was going on, our friend from down the street who does gardening work for us was in our front yard, pulling up some weeds, unaware of all the excitement. As he worked, a cop car pulled up in front of our house ... he kept working, and then reached down to pick up a rake. The cops jumped out of the car, pulled out their guns, and told him to freeze. Hey, he said, as he dropped the rake, I'm just doing yard work! They apologized and moved on ... you know, all black folks with bat-shaped objects look the same.

Those stories didn't make the news ... guess you need a Keyshawn in the story before it's of interest.


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