Ghetto Wisdom

Excerpt: Everyday we take so much for granted unaware of how precious the tiniest moment can become until it has long passed. We are such selfish creatures, we only see what we want. (Reads: 171)


“Go Go Go Go!”  I screamed at my friend in the drivers seat. I could feel the vibrations of the wind slicing through our small Honda Civic as we forced our way past the air currents violent friction.

“We have to slow down we are about to reach the intersection!”  I yelled out loud.

“We can’t slow down now we have to risk it!”  My friend responded in his frenzied voice.

The flashing lights now eclipsing our rear view mirrors as the ringing from the sirens pounded our ear drums.

“We are going to die if we get hit here we are moving way too fast and they can’t see us coming!”  I quickly analyzed and exclaimed to my partner in crime. They say that when you are going to die your entire life flashes before your eyes, like our brains are trying to live on through our past memories for as long as they can. Or maybe it happens to reflect on all of our regrets and past endeavors left hanging in the clutches of time now lost. I have no answer for this but I can say that I experienced none of that in my time of chaos and unyielding panic. Perhaps that event is reserved for those who deserve to continue on existing in this malformed definition of reality.

At the time of this scene I was an angry little boy with a grudge held tight against humanity. This was simply another day of escape and survival for my friend and myself for we were no strangers to this long fought, yet pointless struggle, we labeled the drug war.

“What should I do dawg we are almost there and the light is still red?”  My friend stated as if it wasn’t already completely obvious.

“Slow down just before we hit the crossing we can use the siren to stop the traffic and not die!”  My mind processed as we were seconds away from judgment.  Now this intersection was not typical in any way, it had a drastic slope along the left side in relation to our direction of approach. Along with an even more curved hill located straight ahead of us, the cars had no line of sight until they reach the top of the slope first mentioned and to make matters worse the speed limit here was 50 mph.  We were driving straight into a large freeway type of street from a small residential road, hitting speeds up to 90 mph where the incoming traffic has no warning of our trajectory until our vehicles can basically slap each other.  This was a recipe for disaster and everyone involved could deduce the danger we were so eagerly trudging towards.  5..4..3..2..1..  A loud melody of metal bending and scraping against bumpers began to play its raspy tune.

Welcome to my world of anarchy and mayhem, I savored the pain I inflicted upon others and relished the darkness that had consumed me.  I was the product of envy and fear born in a ghetto playground where emotions become your most deadly weakness.  I was a respectful child growing up who got straight A’s in school and always tried to make all around me laugh.  However this was not practical as I approached my teen years, my kindness was used to belittle me and my peers and family saw me as nothing more than a frail whining child. I became fed up with my meager life and decided that I would no longer allow the world to taunt my every resolve. I was extremely scared during my period of renewal for deep down that same little boy was still there.  That fear only made me fight harder and soon I began to gain praise for my actions.  This respect I learned to carry became intoxicating and corrupted my soul down to its core.  I wanted more and any who should try and challenge my pride were subject to violence.  I simply want you all to understand who this person was and how he came to be.  When I think back upon my adventures sometimes I wallow in self pity and soak in all my sinful mistakes.  But then, after I endure all that misfortune, a smile comes across my face.  Those mistakes made me grow into the person I am today, and I will always remember the wisdom I took with me in the end.

BANG!!!  The patrol car behind us slammed hard against our trunk and gave us both a powerful jolt upon our necks.  The melody played loud enough to get the attention of the incoming traffic and began a domino effect of screeching tires and blaring horns.  Our plan worked as my friend slammed down the gas peddle simultaneously turning the steering wheel towards the right.  We managed to get onto the main street somewhat intact and emboldened by our small victory.  I remember time almost coming to a complete halt as I looked out onto the crowd of cars now at a stand still, the faces of shock and awe truly memorized me for a second.  The cop never missed a beat and made that turn along with us.  My friend soon realized that driving straight down a main street would not help us due to the back up we were sure to encounter.

He turned a hard left and burned a scar into the hot asphalt leaving a trail of smoke behind our tires.  Now pointed straight towards the downward hill back onto the same street we began on, we sped away from all eyes fixed on our every move.  I turned around in time to see the patrol car stop in its tracks and try and reverse far enough to make the turn without crashing into the other vehicles.  As we began descending down the hill all lines of sight with the cop were cut off and nobody could see what we were doing for a brief moment.  I saw an opportunity so I grabbed all the drugs in the car and threw them out the window with all my might.  Now we were clean and on some back roads I knew very well, I used to go to adult school on this very street.  The street we are currently on ends here but there is a maze of confusing paths just to our left.  The streets were tiny two lane highways crudely put together and a vast dessert lay sleeping here.  But in the dessert is where the maze is hidden behind mounds of dirt and huge shrubs.

So I explain to my friend that he has to slow down for the turn because there is a huge school signal with large lights on it just off the street. “We will hit it if we dont slow down so watch how you make this left.” I explained.

He was stuck in panic mode but he did shake his head to acknowledge my remark.  “Slow down your moving too fast! Watch the pole, the pole!”  I managed to screech out as our car went straight into the sturdy piece of metal and machine.

The hood almost folded into itself down the middle where we struck the sign as the large lights on top fell down towards us and smashed the back window out in a huge parade of glass.  The sharp edges showered towards the back of our heads as the car stalled in protest of its harsh treatment.  I turn around to see the cop car coming down the hill towards us at full speed, I mentally give up and simply stare off into space.

No that’s not where this story ends believe it or not, fate was not yet finished with us. Fate, such a strange concept don’t you think?  Free will nothing more than an illusion we place in front of us to soften the blow of the unknown.  I often wonder if I could have ever been anyone else or if this outcome would always come to play out.  Everyday we take so much for granted unaware of how precious the tiniest moment can become until it has long passed.  We are such selfish creatures, we only see what we want.  Pride, respect, money, cars, woman, we all want to be admired by the people next to us.  We use race and religion to create lines of separation just to make ourselves feel more important than the next man.  We use education to measure how much intelligence each individual has obtained.  These are not achievements they are tools, tools to communicate and understand one another.  Tools that gain wisdom not prestige, we only see what we want, we only focus on our image and status.  My mistakes may have stamped me as a menace and a horrible person, but they have also given me wisdom.  Life isn’t about conquering or succeeding, its not about learning either.  Its about understanding and communicating the miracle we are witnessing everyday to the person behind us.  When we notice how trivial our goals and desires are, we can see our truest dreams blossom.  Only then can we really claim enlightenment and see  past what we want, and realize what we already have.


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