Children Live Here

We spent most of our time in other neighbourhoods today, walking only up to Hastings for the bus or to go to the park in Strathcona, but on the block across from our house we encountered three people sitting on the stairs. I was not paying attention to them since I was keeping an eye on my walking daughter while pushing my son in the stroller. But as we approached, the woman in the middle of the three pushed something aside and whispered, “Kids!” Then, “Awww, she’s so cute.”

“Thanks,” I said, and kept moving.

There is a strange respect for children here, but one that acknowledges what people do around here is not to be emulated or even witnessed by younger people. A friend of ours who lives on our block has many times confronted a drug deal or a violent confrontation across the street from her home while yelling, “There are children who live here!” The response is almost always, “Sorry ma’am.” The deal is suspended; the fight is taken to the other end of the park.

I knew someone else who worked with prostitutes in the area and said that she planned events the same way she would for 13 year olds. Perhaps there is a connection between the suspended maturity of many of my neighbours and their respect for the innocence of the child.

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About azlewis

I'm an academic living in the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. I also teach at a local seminary.
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