Hanging On The Corner

Back about 50 years ago, I graduated from college. I had a great job, working in the auto industry. (But) I felt like I was missing something. I was on edge with tremendous nervous vigor. Also, the era I grew up in – the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s – idealized schism against the staidness of the previous generation. The values and principles are definitely now less inclined, in that direction. I was getting bored. Looking back on my life; I maybe, somehow, needed to re-invent my high-strung gumption, now that I’m becoming more refined in my post teenage years. I grew up being a mischievous punk kid, who had a score to settle.

Not worrying about money (I was already loaded from years of working shadily, hiding my money, and hustling as a kid) or anything else of importance; I decided, I needed some ACTION. I cannot say, I particularly welcomed this development; but- I was familiar with it. (So) I’m thinking, I must pronounce my own identity at some point, and this is liable to take the form of anti social nonconformity. Once the trademark of the anguished teen! So I get together with a select group of crazy ass friends I know (who were also bored as hell) and we all decide, that we need to go hang out on a corner and act COOL! ..Hey, something to do! But, that wasn’t all of it. My mind was PLOTTING?

But you have to remember something important about our adolescence: above all things we were myth-makers, creating and recreating situations and whole webs of significance little understood by the pragmatic grown-up world. Our aim was risk and courted danger.

Being jaded social deviates, we began hanging out on street intersections; binge drinking with friends, shouting insults at people, and generally attempting to score points with friends and increase our standing in the circle. The group was our security; and if you are by yourself, you’re seen as an easy target for those who desperately needed attention.

We would often make the scene at parks and street hideways for want of having no better place to hang out. There was some kind of magical feeling you get from hanging out there? Quite often, this was perfectly innocent and there was nothing sinister about it. However, it created a problem, when we started constantly hanging outside of someone’s domain; and with issues such as noise and litter, those were just two of the less serious problems we caused. So, we prowled for a proprietary hang-out where ‘EVERYONE KNEW OUR NAME.’

While on the corner, we were always on the brink, and there was an element of unpredictability. We were a group of friends, punctuated with “dunnos” and “maybes,” laughing, joking and spending time together. But, outside the performance, we became obvious to the rogue cops in town, that we were becoming TROUBLEMAKERS.

All of a sudden, our posturing at the park and the street crossroads developed into prowling around and displaying ourselves to the area. Separation for us youths on the street corner began with the construction of ‘us and ‘them.’ In the defiance and madness of the streets, peer admiration is the only form. We had to assert our own identity against that of our peers at some point…”we stand about our town thinking were bad” –and it did take the form of a rebellious nature.

First of all, I went out and purchased some tough muscle cars, during the few years that I’m hoodwinking around town. I needed to inflate my ego more within the standing of the social club. The cops in town didn’t like it at all. They were constantly chasing me. I had quicker, faster, souped-up wheels, that handled better than any police chase cars. With my ego bursting, I was on a collision course.

The display of our belonging was to appear tough, hard and dangerous. A lot of fights were happening on a regular basis between jealous rivals hanging around in the street, largely doing nothing, but, drinking. Our trademarked street corner now was becoming A SITE OF PUBLIC DISPLAY with all bunch of punk kids with motorized ‘road rockets’ drag racing down the main streets with the cops in pursuit.

I’m pretty sure it had to do with being at a highly visible place on a main street. More friends were starting to congregate there; and then when people they know see them, they would stop to talk to and meet other socially awkward hangers, who are clueless. Then, you get others who stop to chat with different loafers and loiterers they know, which leads to social networking within the group.

”Damn kids trying to act up all cool by attempting to look hardcore. When they grow up they will realize how pathetic they were.”BUT ONLY TIME WILL TELL!

IT WAS TIME– after a few years of all this craziness, I got more and more committed to praying, connecting to my true self, and meditating. I felt deep in my heart ”it was time” for me to make some shifts in my outer world. That decision involved trekking across the entire country…I was excited about the new adventures that were surely paving their way on my new horizon. And, as I may say: THERE WERE MANY.