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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gray

10 Things + I think... My Misfortune in NE DC Edition

1. You never quite know what area is categorized as the hood when you’ve moved out of town. I was told many times to be careful of NE DC in particular, but figured it was much like most of STLs “hoods”. So I’m leaving my study spot in MD headed to class and gps has me driving through NE DC. No problem, right? But driving through and being stuck in it are two different things. Especially when ppl keep warning you. It’s so interesting to hear how locals describe their city… (wondering if I ever gave caution in describing any part of STL)

2. When your car runs hot  and it’s 137 degrees in DC… SO I pulled over. 2 seconds later a man knocks on my window for some change. Like don’t you think if I had some spare change, I wouldn’t be here? I simply look at him and tell him to keep moving. 

3. SO I decided to find a gas station. Drove down the street literally 30 seconds away and then there’s smoke. So on the horizon (that’s a dramatic description- you’ll deal) I see a Shell gas station. I drive to it. It has a repair garage. I am as happy as Ryan Lochte when he found out the white folks at dancing with the stars still love him. I get there and ____ just changes…

4. I walk up to the garage… “Can you look at my car, it’s running hot.” Asian man, “Nah I ain’t got time till tomorrow.” Me: *hot and frustrated and mildly afraid because there is a crowd drawing* Damn, ok. ummm…

5. First offering: The Warner (Older, Black man, late 40s, just got off work) “Baby you look stressed. You smoke weed? If not, you need to start. Girl, where you from them plates say MO.

Me: St. Louis. Him: You must be a student. Me: Yes. Him: Well girl be careful, this is Northeast. People kill, steal and rob around here. You gotta watch yourself.

6. SO by now… I’m stressed the hell out. This OG just told me to watch me back. I got on a maxi dress and a full book bag. My only defense at this point is some strong adjectives. SO I try my best to poke my chest out and be cool. “It’s cool, I’m from STL nothing really surprises me.” Until…

7. Second Offering: The D Boy (who may or may not co-own the gas station) Him: Sheeiiiiiiit girl, I’m trying to change your oil. Me: *rolls eyes* Him: Come on let me call you. Me: Ay, I’m having a really bad day, I can’t do this with you right now. Not today man. Him: Shiiiiiii I’m trying to make your day better. Me: *rolls up window*

8. So you know the car is off and it's 700 degrees and my _____ got the window up because D Boy is irking my soul. I’m in there roasting like one of those wienies fon that rotating hot plate in QuickTrip. I mean sweat is glistening down my body. I finally can’t take anymore. He’s about to walk back over for round 2 when a car pulls up. Three men get out looking like every dope fiend character you ever seen on tv (Dave Chapelle, Chris Rock etc.). He says, “I’ll be back after I make this sale.” He starts yelling at the men. “You want some heroin or nah?” I’ve never prayed for folks to peacefully buy the heroin in my life. BUT TODAY… I’m praying hard like a dead beat baby daddy before a child support hearing. “Lord please let him just buy the drugs. Please.” So he makes his sell

9. I decide to call this boy I used to like. Because I used to like him. So we’re face timing… dude inserts his whole face into my car window. “So you gonna let a ______ call you or what?” Me: “I’m face timeing with my boyfriend.” Him: Why didn’t you just say you had a man. Me: *inserts nervous smile* (I honestly didn’t think that was a deterrent for you. Honestly. and because well hmmmm, life. I was trying to live and not be forced to buy heroin from you.) 

9. So I call a friend who is local… “Ay yo I’m in a dangerous situation. I’m stranded, can you please come get me.” Keep in mind y’all I been crying off and on for a whole hour because… fear. D Boy keep asking why my nose is red. I’m trying to be tough so I say, It’s hot. My thought was… if I let him see me cry he’ll know I’m scared. Can’t let him see me sweat. So everytime I emerge form the oven (car) I dry my face. 

10. My friend finally gets there. If you’ve ever see the movie “The Wood” you’ll remember when they Slim (AKA La-veen-nio) finally got free from the police after Stacey robbed the convenience store. You know, when they pull up to La Tiera 86… They ran out of that cutlass so fast. 

11. But I gotta leave my car there. They warn me to take everything out of my car because “They break into shit.” I am STRESSED.

12. Did I mention it was the first day of my Thursday class that is being taught by the Chair of my dept? SO I get there 40 minutes late. My friend has leather seats so I gotta unpeel my body from them and hope I don’t leave that awkward butt sweat stain on it. 

13. SO the next morning… they haven’t called me by 10:30. I’m afraid my car is gone. I’m frantic. 

14-20. 4 hours later of searching for car parts, waiting for labor, asking about damage. I’m READY TAH GO.

21. Get back to the garage. Old dude under the hood of my car smoking a square. Now, I’m not the smartest person ever, but something about that seems dumb as hell. I ain’t paying no deductible for your newport addiction.

22. D Boy is back. Sitting inside the garage this time. Watching my every move. Another car pulls up and he yells out, “Let me make this sell.” He was by far the dumbest but most successful drug dealer I’ve ever seen. 

23. My car is fixed. I’m out. Will I be back? Maybe not to Shell, but I saw a few chicken joints over there that may get a visit soon. Y’all know I love bird. 

God willing.

Update: I absolutely love NE DC now. I guess you can say it reminds me of home the most.

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