I haven't had a chance to write about this until just now, but last weekend a man was shot on the corner of Thomas and Rockwell, my corner. I was across the street playing poker with friends and heard a car roll up, three shots, then peel out. Someone on the corner hollered "SOMEBODY CALL 911", so I did. The police were there scary-fast, like maybe 5-10 seconds fast, and paramedics weren't far behind. The incident left me pretty shook up. It's not like shootings are extremely rare in Humboldt Park, and it's not like there haven't been at least a few dozen since I moved here four years ago, but this is definitely the closest it's ever been, leaving me with the painful awareness that my cats probably saw the whole thing go down and I really hope they had the good sense to hit the damn deck. Who knows, but they're smart kitties.
I stayed across the street as long as I could but the heat didn't die down until pretty late that night. When I finally walked across the street an hour or so later, one lone cruiser's blue lights lit my way, with one single policeman absorbed in something near it. The police tape was still up when I fell asleep.
The next day, I heard all manner of commotion outside my window. The neighbourhood kids had taken the police tape and used it to block off the street for a massive, awesome block party with grilling, music, dancing, little kids runnin' around like crazy, and all manner of happy good times. Because this neighbourhood doesn't stop for anything, for anyone, and it cannot ever be beaten. I also heard earlier today that the guy who got shot is at least still alive, and might be alright. The shooting made me feel like I wanted to move, but the block party the next day reminded me why I chose this neighbourhood, why I live here, and why I've continued to live here despite the encroaching crime nearby: it's a real neighbourhood where people actually legitimately care for one another, and displays a character and strength that is truly worthy of Chicago. Makes me pretty proud to live here. Viva boricua, space cadets!