Out of The Mouth of Babes

Yesterday, I took my 15yr old stepson Ernesto with me on a scouting mission to check out the neighborhoods of some fixer upper homes in DC located in decidedly changing neighborhoods. We are on a budget and I am looking to ride out the changing fortunes of a neighborhood til we can accrue ridiculous equity really fast and then sell for a nice tidy profit.

The 1st 2 homes we checked out were very promising with well maintained yards/streets/alleys and were quiet- quite unlike how I remembered these 2 neighborhoods in my more colorful and reckless teenage years when things could pop off quick like a powder keg on the regular. My stepson gave both homes the thumbs up which pleased me because that means that mi papi would get a good and unbiased report that he could trust since he really doesn’t like the idea of living in DC for reasons of acreage, reputation, and small houses. So when I saw the address of the 3rd home, I was willing to keep an open mind although I remembered the area to be extremely dangerous and a volatile place back in the day.

As we are driving towards this home, things on the approaching streets don’t look like they have changed much- heck, the people even look unchanged, like they are just waiting for the next bang-bang.  I glance at Ernesto’s face and see it cloud over, looking a bit fearful. We continue on in silence where more and more people are just hanging out aimlessly- or rather not aimlessly but maybe looking for their next “opportunity.”

2 minutes away from reaching our destination, Ernesto just starts shaking his head repeating, “No, Tanya, No”. This chant becomes louder and louder. Undeterred, I am determined to see this house in all of its glory, win, lose, or draw. We arrive and it is across the street from a tenement building and is abutting several houses that look rundown or abandoned. So yeah, the optics were a little disquieting, to say the least.

Some of the criteria for us choosing a home is the need to have a driveway/backyard/garage for off street parking, the ease of getting street parking anytime, as well as how safe it is to come home late at night and not be accosted/robbed or otherwise confronted nefariously or opportunistically. This house fails miserably on all fronts using that criteria, not to mention that this neighborhood surely isn’t “CHANGING” anytime soon.

As we take our leave of the home, we have to wait patiently for about 15 people to clear the street- apparently they were suddenly called to a neighborhood meeting of great importance in the middle of the street. As they disperse extra slowly while casting some welcoming (not welcoming at all) mean-mugging towards our car, Ernesto turns to me and says, “This neighborhood No Bueno, Tanya. I see in the eyes of La Gente, THEY SAY YOU WILL DIE HERE TONIGHT.” I fell out laughing but respond seriously, You maybe right, Ernesto. And with that, the decision was made- we will NOT be the early test case for gentrification in these parts. We get the Fock out of dodge.
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