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‘This Place is Bad for Me’
Miss Eddy May Discusses Her Tearful Return to Harm City
Eddy May is an older lady who walks with a cane—making her a prime crime target—and lives alone in an area that went from neighborhood to thughood in five years. I’ve been helping her pack her belongings and secure her home and change air conditioners and such when I’m in town. For her part, she has mended my clothes, washed them and fixed me a meal each time I’ve appeared to avail myself of some exercise… As she speaks, her voice is alternately measured and trembling, muffled with slow tears or elevated in a faint despairing squeak…

I was so lucky to be able to help my daughter with her baby in [redacted]. [redacted] is not a town that I might be able to afford. I checked it out and was so grateful for your friend showing me around, to make time out of his day for a stranger to show them the places to go and not to go, to clue me in on expenses and rentals and crime—what there is, nothing like this place of course!
To be a woman, waiting on the street in Baltimore, it’s an enlistment in a horror movie—a real life vampire movie with no way out of the script. But when your friend was running a little later than he had predicted, I was waiting outside a shop, where there was a bench, and a lady was sitting there and I asked her if it was okay if I sat, because I’m not a paying customer. She was so gracious! It was amazing. Not only did she welcome me to sit down, but she suggested I get in out of the cold and wait inside! I’d never dream of being able to sit in a business without making a purchase, knowing that I would be ushered out as a trespasser almost immediately—you know, that treatment that is only, in our mythology, inflicted on black people!
I lived in paradise—not the prettiest place, not the best weather, but was treated by perfect strangers as a human being—for a week. Then back I come to the Baltimore shit show. There is no wheel chair assistant at the airport and everybody is unbearably rude. If it wasn’t for Uber Joe I don’t know what I would have done. He’s a good man, a real good man, in this place where that seems to be a crime. Even you, a bad man, with no emotions, like you’re some predator from another planet, are about as good as it gets in this hell hole. I come back to a place where men cheat me, women threaten me and their little criminal offspring chase me in my car just because I’m old, white and a woman.
What kind of society raises children that hunt old women in the street?
I’m stuck in this house. Yes, I could leave, but to what end?
When you are a white rabbit, the tawny wolf pit offers few inducements.
I could go to Panera Bread and knit—the hoodrats appear to have not developed a taste for their food.
But all that would do is increase the odds of something horrible happening.
I told my boss that this place is bad for me. It is, it’s like a weight on you that you can’t accurately calibrate until you’ve been out from under it. I know you feel it. You’ve been mean—have this hardness in your eyes that’s came back since you first showed up in town, since you’ve been back from out west. I often wonder what I did in some past life to be consigned to this place, for the choices I made to somehow add up to place me in a city I didn’t know could exist, in a country I wasn’t born in?
Who was the idiot that said God didn’t roll dice?
So I while away the hours in loneliness within these uncaring walls, another old lady left behind in a place the bastards have given to those who hate us.
I really appreciate your visits, your time, your help—and then you leave. You’ll always be away more than around and when you’re here you spread yourself so thin, give away your time to so many people, I’m always expecting you to run out of time for me.
I’m so sorry for crying—I know it’s the only thing that upsets you, but I’m weak and alone and its becoming increasingly obvious that the world hates me because I’m white.
It’s after dark and they’re out there looking for people to hurt. I feel terrible for keeping you here after dark! Please take the axe, please, and don’t let them get you!
Oh, great, junk mail! I need more junk mail, need to buy more garbage to build a wall against this godforsaken world. You look strong with that. Please take the alleys so the cops don’t get you and call me when you get there.
Please—should I lay out a pork chop for tomorrow?
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