Technology is wonderful. You lie in bed, and you can order almost anything in the world off the internet. And if you order through one of the biggest suppliers of products in the world, you can literally get what you ordered the same day or the next day.
Now packages don’t miraculously just show up on your doorstep. Especially big boxes. You know you ordered something large, and the company has told you when the package was coming. So why the hell aren’t you folks at home or making plans for someone to receive it?
I deliver a lot of those packages and when I got the opportunity on Saturday night to make some extra money, I went for it. But I’m not going to lie. When I saw the delivery locations, there was no smile on my face. South Austin, West and East Garfield Park. Everything south of Madison Street. Everything in some of the most perceived and realized dangerous areas of the city in the West Side.
Now I know folks in those areas deserve the same sort of services everybody else gets, so I put on my big girl panties and went out to deliver. But I’m not going to lie. It was scary as f***. Dark streets filled with even darker homes. Phone calls to people went unanswered. Lots of lovely voice messages telling me God bless, but you know the packages are coming, so be there for them!
Even worse were the number of buildings where the doorbells don’t work and the people aren’t answering their phones or responding to text messages. If you can order everything in the world off the internet, order a damn doorbell! They have battery-operated ones which are wireless, so other than just being trifling, there’s just no damn excuse!
“Dibs” was still in effect, so finding a place to park even temporarily became difficult. Block a street and folks will have a “honking” fit. Pull in their parking spaces and who knows what can happen.
I decided to call people to let them know I was on the way. One woman had her service number attached to the kid’s phone. As I explained that I didn’t want to be driving down the street slowly looking for an address (we know in the ’hood that is the precursor to a drive-by shooting), I wanted her to be at the doorway with the lights on. Her response was that her address showed. That’s not the problem! There is no law saying the address has to be in a certain place. The problem is I don’t want to be looking for the address! It’s late. It’s dark. Every crackhead, fool, moron and who knows what was out. The weather was warmer than it had been in weeks. It was a full moon and the werewolf effect was in full effect.
Another woman I spoke with agreed to be at the door. But when I pulled up, she was peering from behind her locked security door and steel interior door. Amazing how folks want stuff delivered, but they’re scared to come out!
Even delivering to a local business was an experience. Why do we permit folks to hang out in parking lots? Why do we permit folks to hang out at the intersection of major streets and side streets? We are 21 years into the 21st century. We know better, and it’s incumbent upon us to do and demand better.
My car was filled with big boxes and tons of other packages. Every time I had to open the door, I felt like I was a potential target for robbery or carjacking. It was more than I could take. I took everything back. The risk to me was not worth the price I would have to pay should something occur.
The black community has historically been the recipient of not getting the service that it deserves. However, in today’s technology-filled world, the black community has a responsibility to present a safe, well-lit, and conducive environment for service.
It is long overdue for us to clean up the ’hood.