I am sitting on a concrete pylon in the parking lot of the Hip Hop Hair & Café.  It is time stop and observe a narrow space in this very large city.  As I look across the street my eye is drawn to five men congregated in a parking lot.  They are all Hispanic and young.  Their clothing was  casual and modern. They are standing in front of their cars- - talking.  They are very animated.  I wonder what they are talking about?  If I was stereotyping maybe I would assume they were selling drugs.  However, avoiding stereotypes I would guess that they are just chatting about the terrible experimental dinner one of their mothers’ cooked last night.  As my thoughts meander about what they are saying, I see one of them walk out of my frame of reference.  I widen my ‘lens’ and see that he has gone to talk to a police officer that has pulled in to the lot.  It appears that their meeting is cordial.  The young guy seems as if he is giving the officer directions.  At any rate, the officer soon drives away.  I turn away now to chat with one of my classmates.  When I turn back the young men are gone and the officer is now parked in their place.  School is letting out and dozens and dozens of kids start pouring out onto the streets.  The volume is now very loud.  Kids talking, cars booming.  The officer stays where he is parked -- watching.  What is he watching for?  Is he there to protect the students?  Or is he there to monitor their comings and goings?


Back to Index Page