Let me say first off I am not a Durham NC native, I was raised in San Diego in an all white middle class area close to the beach. I was raised Catholic whereas discipline was more important then the education. It was a tough upbringing but it kept me on my toes. I moved to Durham because I was in the Marines back in the 80s and figured it would be a good place to raise my son. After I was diagnosed with AIDS I found myself living in the heart of Durham which to me seems like its about 70 percent if not more African American. Lots of school kids who wear pants down below their waist and a general disregard for respect for elders. They are also very clicky and obviously not too well off considering the project like environment of the buildings which look more like commercial buildings set up as apartments. The apartments get broken into often and its not a very safe area. A mile away are nice homes and obviously occupied by the retired or well to do. It really makes me wonder how people exist in this environment. I remember living in a shack at the beach with my gf and never experiencing the stress of this type of living and dont think I would if it werent for the fact I got so sick and had to retire early as an electrician. I get enough to survive on but its a far cry from when I made mad money as an electrician.
So here I am in Durham NC and I see and hear the despair and think, "It wouldnt be suprising if many of these folks may have HIV and not even know it. The general attitude seems to be not technical or knowlegeable but connected. If your down, Im down so lets hang out. I never will understand the attitude of complacency in healthy adults. When I was healthy I worked like a dog, installing electrical stuff or working as a mail handler for the Marines. At 48 Ive travelled the world, lived in 3 different states, worked since I was 15 and on my own since 17 when my father commited suicide. It is beyond me how we as a nation have let our offspring become so soft and uninspired. I remember digging in trashcans as a kid for cans so I could turn them in for money, this may seem like a lousy way to live but it helped me build character and experience new things. Playing Wii or Playstation is not a new experience, it is mind numbing and serves no educational purpose which is why I think we are where we are and HIV rates continue to climb. Without hope or purpose there is no reason to have respect for ourselves or care what happens in the future. I feel its sad but its the way many of us think. Maybe someday we will get it and live a life with meaning and purpose versus a life of consumption.