Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mill Avenue Nights Saturday, January 24th 2009

Envy and Cole

Envy is far enough along in her pregnancy (end of the first trimester I suspect) that she’s showing. I found her in very good spirits and we sat and spoke a while at the drum circle. Numerous people came by looking for Cole—to our amusement, every time someone asked, they were standing literally right behind him.

“Seen Cole?” came the question.

“Turn around,” our thrice reply.

She tells me that they have a house in the works and will therefore have a place to stay, hopefully for a while, especially with the baby on the way. She also said that Cole’s mother learned about the child and was overjoyed—banishing Envy’s fear that Cole’s mother would have instead been furious.

Which is good news.

And now for the bad news (or strange news.)


Kristina is a young (eighteen-year-old) street rat with blonde hair and a hyperactive demeanor. She’s been on the nerves of a great deal of people because she has a sort of in-your-face approach extreme extrovert attitude going on. When I first met her she had been causing Osiris some annoyance because she was physically striking him with a rolled up bit of paper and had to be sternly backed off. At the time I feared for her safety if she behaved like that with some of the more high strung street rats.

Of course, that isn’t the extent of her bad behavior. Further events have transpired to put her into an even more precarious position of her own making.

It is not uncommon for various members of the community to posture. By this, I refer to threatening to “beat someone’s ass” for disrespecting them, for being annoying, for doing this, or doing that—but often this just comes to loud discussions or arguments, and rarely fisticuffs. Kristina’s case may differ, however, in that it takes both parties avoiding the fight to actually avoid punches being thrown.

Recently, Kristina has broken up with her boyfriend, Shadow. Up until now he had been the major stabilizing force in her connection with the rest of the community; by and large because he happens to be well known, and stood between her and those who might have taken their frustration out of her hide. He no longer shelters her under his wing, and has gone out of his way to explain to others that they have a “green light” to take Kristina’s harassment at face value.

So, that’s one barrier down that was originally preventing her from whatever street justice she might have found by acting like such an obnoxious brat. I had hoped a few months of running into the more stern by calm street rats might cause her to chill or back off—but tonight I learned more troubling elements of her excitable personality.

Envy sat and told me about a few events that happened between her and Kristina before the girl visited the Ave for the first time and met me. It would appear that Kristina took a shine to Cole, and fully aware that Envy is pregnant with Cole’s child, she Kristina decided to call Cole and ask him to a sexual dalliance because he happened to be a sadist. This did not go over well with Envy.

To top all this off, Kristina has a violent streak: she hurled a metal chair at Little Nub’s head during a disagreement. This story has been corroborated by a few of the street rats, so it’s likely not entirely an exaggeration. But, if Kristina is going to get violent with people—they will get violent with her.

Didn’t see her out tonight; I doubt she would be showing up after some of this news.

Jeff Rose and Vincent Piater, newly visiting street preachers

I got some chances to observe members of a group that had come out with Shawn Holes last weekend preaching in front of Urban Outfitters and the Post Office later in the night. The full breadth of the observations about them can be found on the Better Than Faith Mill Avenue Resistance Reports article for tonight.

To the mixture that is Mill Ave they certainly added to the general noise and mayhem. Jeff Rose with particularly loud preaching (not quite as loud as Shawn gets, but still up there) and managed to gather crowds that turned on and off unruly. This is going to be an issue with any groups drunken possibly on either machismo and alcohol in equal proportions.

The Resistance set up with him and, when they moved so that Papa Soul could play in front of Urban Outfitters—and he does play even louder than even Shawn or Jeff can breach—they asked the Resistance to move with them to the Post Office.

There were a couple violent and near-violent incidents directly related to Jeff’s preaching including an apparent street rat whose name I don’t know pulling his speaker cable. After a few successful attempts he was assaulted by one of the males with the group (Vincient Piater) and used that as instigation to posture and threaten. Fortunately, that situation was diffused without any bruises.

After that had calmed down, I witnessed something that I’m quite amused by. A sociologist that I was speaking to did something that I rather liked. While he was talking to the street kid, he shook his hand, and did not let go until he explained that yanking the cable and nearly getting into a tussle is not acceptable.

I did not have a chance to speak to the street rat to learn his name or more about why he was acting the way he did. He was a black American young man, wearing a ratty t-shirt, and a clean safari-style felt hat. After that incident he vanished entirely from the Ave; I didn’t even see him at the drum circle.

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