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The Devolution of a Neighborhood

I’ve been in denial for awhile, but it’s time to admit it. My neighborhood has become a ghetto.

When I first moved in, it was a simple, quiet gated community on the edge of a wealthier town. Most of the people who lived here were middle-class, white collar workers who spent their days in the offices right up the street. Even when the signs started to appear that this place was going down hill, I ignored them.

When one of my neighbors tried to burn his girlfriend’s apartment down, while completely stark naked I just said “Hey, it’s already hot enough here. If you’re going to light a fire, you need to stay cool.” When a man got into a police standoff a few blocks over, complaining that he was getting messages from the children’s show, “Yo Gabba Gabba” I took it as par for the course in being a Floridian.

When a man drove his car into the 2 foot retention pond and tried to commit suicide, I just assumed he was really bad at suicide.

But I can no longer ignore it, the way I’ve ignored the fact that my neighbors are drug dealers. I can no longer ignore it, because just this morning, I saw ‘ghetto mattress”.


Ghetto mattress never happens in a nice neighborhood. You don’t hear about a lot of residents in Coconut Grove calling the city to have someone’s 16 year old posturpedic removed. No, a mattress on the side of the road happens only where no one really gives a fuck.

Let’s explain the evolution. A ghetto motherfucker wakes up one morning and realizes he needs to get rid of his mattress. Maybe it’s filled with burns because of his crack pipe. Maybe his Rottweiler peed on it. For whatever reason, the mattress is persona-non-grata in his one bedroom apartment.

So here is what he does. He drags the mattress outside and tosses it on top of his 1998 Honda Civic. You know the one. It has a sound system that’s worth more than the car, pitch black window tint and spinning rims.

mattress goes for ride

He makes it about 25 feet with the mattress on top of his car, before he slams on his brakes and the mattress goes flying and lands in what will be its final resting place. This guy then gives himself a hearty pat on the back and walks away, saying ‘well, the mattress is society’s problem now”.

Ghetto mattress will never be moved. It will sit on the side of the road, being used as a trampoline by ghetto motherfucker’s children and as a waste disposal unit for feral cats.  It will sit there for decades, and everyone who drives past it will say ‘who the hell just leaves a mattress on the side of the road?”

Eventually, ghetto mattress will get some friends. He might get some ‘ghetto tires’, or one of those old steel barrels that bums use to light fires in. He might even get a few more mattresses.


Homeless people will discover all these wonderful mattresses for sleeping on, and all these wonderful tires for sitting on. They will make fires in the discarded steel cans until the area where ghetto mattress started looks a lot like this.

homeless camp

Yes, I’m saying it. The journey to having a homeless camp in your back yard begins with one solitary mattress. So it’s looking like it’s time to move again. On the upside, at least I know what to do with all my old mattresses.



7 thoughts on “The Devolution of a Neighborhood

  1. I hear you on this one, sister! In 1991, I moved into a nice little apartment complex in far North Dallas. Things were fine, until the turn of the century, when I started to notice the quality of life diminishing. People started throwing bottles and cans into the bed of my pickup; fights were continuously breaking out; the police were showing up more often; trash being thrown everywhere. Shortly before I moved out in 2003 (I’m not the type to move around a lot), I asked the manager if the complex was now Section 8. She said they were, but had just gotten off it. The property company had agreed to some kind of deal with the City of Dallas to help out the less fortunate. Obviously that didn’t work out so well.

    I have a friend who’s on Section 8 because he’s HIV+ and takes a slew of meds, and an aunt of mine lived in Section 8 housing for a while because bad health forced her to retire earlier than expected. I can understand their plights. But there are too many lazy asses who won’t get a job, or even some kind of training to help them find a job, and still feel society owes them something. And it’s the rest of us hardworking folks who pay for them and their damn mattresses. At least mattresses can be recycled.

    • I know from a friend of my own that HIV meds cost more out of pocket than rent every month for a 2 bedroom in my area. People like your friend and your aunt are who section 8 was designed for, and those neighborhoods should be nice for them. Unfortunately, it’s the dicks like the kind that leave ghetto mattresses that fuck them up. There’s two kinds of poor. There’s the kind you can help, and the kind you can’t. Everyone with a couple of brain cells to rub together can tell the difference….and now I have an idea for a blog post.

      Thanks! 🙂

  2. Ah, the curse of the ghetto mattress. Might want to have it removed by the time you’re showing people around your abode, lest they pick up on the same hints that are driving you out.

    • Nice. I’m bingewatching Law & Order Criminal Intent. By the time we’re both done, I’m assuming we’ll be able to handle homeland security all by ourselves, as part of a kickass buddy cop team. You get to be the cynical veteran, who’s avenging his wife’s murder (I know your wife is alive, but work with me here). I’m totally calling the idealistic hothead who refuses to play by the rules, and has a secret vendetta of my own. Is renaming myself “Essa Vandetta” too on the nose?

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