Welcome to Our Neighborhood

We live in the coolest and strangest neighborhood in Houston. It is a very artsy and diverse area. One of my first memorable neighborhood moments was standing in line at a local grocery store behind a man in spandex biker shorts, a businessman in a tie, and a mother with a stroller. That is a fairly typical experience. A few days ago, we had another strange neighborhood experience that was less typical but still very much in character with where we live.

Lauran was going to the local Wendy's for some Frosties. On the way home, she got rear-ended at a stop sign. She was okay, but her car was not. They pulled into a nearby gas station and waited for the police to arrive. Now the particular intersection where this occured happens to be the central hub of activity in the neighborhood. If it had been a weekend night, our experience would have been a thousand times weirder. Lauran called me, and I headed over immediately. As she was waiting for me, standing beside her obviously-wrecked car, a man rode up on a bike and asked her for money. This same guy has asked me for money at the very same gas station. I even watched the store manager chase him away with an automated warning message that he played over the loudspeakers outside. On one hand, I have to admire the guy's persistence.

When I pulled up, I parked in front of a homeless woman who began yelling at me. At least I think she was yelling at me. After a while, she got over it and started singing Elvis songs to us, notably "Love Me Tender" and "You Ain't Nothin' But a Houndog." We waited 30 minutes for the police officer. Fortunately, we were serenaded the entire time. The guy who hit Lauran was also very apologetic and kind. He seemed very distraught because he had never hit anyone before. After the whole incident, he thanked us for being so gracious, saying that we had restored his faith in humanity. That was a nice thing to hear at the end of a rough day.

The police officer finally showed up. He was very helpful and sorted things out fairly quickly. For a while we stood by his car as he filled out the accident report. During this time period, an acquaintance of ours pulled up and waved. We really can't go very far in the neighborhood without seeing someone we know, pretty cool in a city the size of Houston. A few minutes later, a middle-aged woman approached us (as we were standing by the police car clearly talking to the officer). She asked us if we knew where any good bars or clubs were in the area. I was a little surprised by the question, and off the top of my head, the only bars and clubs I could think of were the gay clubs just a couple blocks away. I just told her that the bars and clubs were not really our scene. Clearly, we had other things on our mind anyway. Shortly after this, the guy on the bike returned, but this time he left just as quickly as he saw the police car.

All in all, it was just a routine neighborhood experience in the world's weirdest neighborhood, but it is experiences like these that we treasure because they are so unique and memorable. It lightened a pretty crummy experience.

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