When I was growing up, the west side of Omaha was a strange foreign land, where going south of Dodge or west of 108th was enough to make you feel completely uncomfortable in some instances. I live now in District 66, the west side of town. Taxes are higher, but the schools are nicer, blah, blah, blah.
Sometimes I sit out on my porch in the middle of the night after working and drink a beer in the dark. The neighborhood kids walk by occasionally. Sometimes it is young lovers holding hands. Sometimes it is a couple of kids who have dared to wander down after dark to the local coffee shop a couple blocks down. That is about as much trouble as these kids get into.
Now that school has started, the streets are empty at night. I imagine every kid is at home, diligently doing their homework and longing for the time when they could freely go to the coffee shop around dark.
Not that my neighborhood was tough by any stretch, but when the sun went down all sorts of bad deeds ensued. We would sneak out at night and wander storm sewers or the concrete plant, the body shops or the trailer courts. Getting into fights, running from the cops, smoking cigars until we puked. Drinking stolen liquor. Making out in an elderly couple’s lawn (they never wake up). Whatever. Who cares if school is going on? If anything going back to school amplified our activities.
I drink beer alone in the dark and wonder what happened, or if it is just the neighborhood I’m in. Like a modern day Pleasantville.
Personally, I like drinking beer alone in the dark.
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