Sunday, November 7, 2010

How Not to Be Ghetto Fab: Confessions of a Former Ghetto Superstar!

My definition of Ghetto may differ from yours; so lets clear that up right now. My definition of Ghetto, to put it simply, is a rougher/tougher area of town.... Maybe a little more prone to crime or unsavory types. A few Ghetto's in Edmonton may include China Town/Tent Town/The Inner City Ghetto, 118Ave/Cromdale Area, and The Stadium Area (which evidently, is in between the two.) That being said, I've lived in some pretty Ghetto neighbourhoods since moving to Edmonton.... I've lived in all three Ghetto War Zones... (Keep in mind, I was a 21 year old naive, small town girl when I first moved to E~Town.)

When I first moved to Edmonton, I lived around the corner from the Cromdale Hotel.... We're talking less than a block from 118 Avenue. 118th is essentially one of Edmonton's "skid rows". It didn't take me long to figure out I was living in a rough neighbourhood. I got up insanely early to catch the bus to go cross town to work. I trodded half asleep to the appropriate bus stop only to find a drug user passed out, still tied off in the bus shelter.... Naive or not, I stayed out of that bus shelter and a good ten feet on top of that away... The bus I needed got stopped at a red light, and I was getting approached by a strange looking lady. Turned out she figured I needed some company... Thankfully, the light had turned green and I was outta there before anything else strange could go on... The boyfriend, I moved to Edmonton with, and I thankfully broke up shortly after our arrival in the City of Champions, and the basement suite we were in belonged to his cousin. Heartbroken none the less, I moved out three weeks after the transition into Alberta. I was glad to get out of that neighbourhood... 118th is supposedly the "Avenue of Champions" and is where Rexall Place - where the Oilers and Oil Kings play. It's filled with pawn shops and seems to be the strip for Street Walkers... A couple years after, the Cromdale was shut down due to the drugs and people the activity brings... The City is actively trying to clean up the area, and rid it of the Hookers as well.

I didn't last at my next place long either. I moved in with my friend Missy, her husband at the time, and their few month old son. I wasn't happy there by any means. The husband was a bit of a creeper and pissed me off, my nephew was only a baby and was up throughout the night, and everyone seemed broke all the time. I was dealing with the recent break up, move from BC, move to a new area in a new city, getting to work for really the first time to support myself... I liked the neighbourhood, but I couldn't hack it.... I started looking for my own place, and after a month and a half with my pal and her family.... I moved yet again. (So now I've moved three times in about three months,) I guess I'm drawn to the Ghettoness of this City.... I moved from nice, quiet, family orientated neighbourhood into China Town.

I was in an area called McCauley, which is technically a block off China Town, both areas are just outside of Edmonton's Down Town area. I figured it was OK, the rent was dirt cheap for my bachelor suite in the basement of a converted office building... Everything was included in my rent with the exception of my phone & personal bills. Everything!  It should have tipped me off that there were bars on my tiny little window. When my Dad's Aunt, who has lived in Edmonton since forever, caught wind of where I was living, she flipped her lid..... She figured it was dangerous, and my parents didn't rest easy until they came from BC to see for themselves. To be honest, I loved it there. I spent roughly a year and a half in my tiny apartment. My room in my current residence is approximately the size of my whole bachelor pad... My bedroom, living room, kitchen and dining room were all one open place... My bathroom was just to the right of my front door where my large boot/jacket/clothes closet was... About three, maybe four, blocks away was the Main Headquarters to the Edmonton City Police... That being said, the Reman Center is on the same block as Headquarters... About six or so blocks from my apartment building is a correctional facility as well... I should tell you I only had one issue in that year and a half. I came home one night after the late shift at my job, I got there around 8ish maybe, and there were Police that had taped off the whole block... They wouldn't let me into my building... I didn't know what was going on until I called the Cop Shop to see if I was able to go home. The story was that someone held up the Clinic two doors down and was looking for drugs... The Clinic had none on site, due to the roughness of the neighbourhood, and the would be robber held some people at gun point... Nice eh? Other than that, no issues - even when I would walk a couple blocks after a night at the bar. The worst I ever got was "Hey, do you have a smoke/quarter" or "Hey Pretty Lady, wanna come party with us?" I miss that place, and to this day wonder why I ever moved out of the place....

The third and final Ghetto-fied place I lived was between China Town and Hooker Alley, in the Stadium area - the Stadium being where the Edmonton Eskimos play. With in a week of moving in, there was a double homicide about 4 blocks away, just around the corner from where I walked every day to get to the train I took to get around... Scary... A month later there was another murder, this time closer to 118th Ave... (Both China Town and 118th Ave were within walking distance... Both about 10 - 15 minutes away, just in opposite directions.) Again, I didn't have any issues. I wasn't affiliated with any gangs or anything, and I made sure my roommate knew where I was going, when to expect me back and all that common sense type of stuff... (Geez, my roommate, at the time, was in the midst of becoming a lawyer!)  For the most part, I was a hermit and only went outside after dark for a cigarette or when I really needed too.

I guess you can take the girl out of the ghetto, but you can't always take the ghetto out of the girl. I enjoyed my time in the less than great areas of Edmonton. Call me crazy... But I lived to tell about all three 'Hoods.... I didn't do any time in the "Gang Land" part of the City (Millwoods) and I'm alright with that... =0) Don't get me wrong, Edmonton's "Ghettos" may pale in comparison to most places... Say next to LA, 118th would probably look like a prime piece of real estate... Hell, even next to East Hastings in Vancouver, which I only briefly witnessed, the Avenue of Champions looks like a holiday spot. Let's face it, this girl wouldn't last 5 minutes in those ghetto's or on the mean streets of say Detriot, Chicago, or New York either... Edmonton's ghetto scene may not be as bad as some, but they're bad enough.

It's not always about me; but I did live in the Ghetto and survived to tell about it...


AutisticInspirationz said...

Ha Ha I remember that place waaaaay back in the ghetto days lol

Anonymous said...

I lived in that small bachelor to glad I'm out of that area it was very convienient though