Archive for October, 2009

More Murder in the Barrio

October 30, 2009

A stray bullet during a shootout between rival gangs killed a university student last evening, a few blocks from my office. This is the third murder this year that has taken place within a short walk of my office that I know of. Contrary to what many might think, this neighborhood is not a slum. In fact, it’s one of San Jose’s better neighborhoods, featuring a collection of small offices, decent restaurants and nightlife. But crime is out of control, and the authorities are unable and unwilling to do anything about it. It is indeed an unfortunate commentary on this society when you can’t walk along a crowded thoroughfare at 5:30 pm in a good part of town without an imminent risk of danger.

The Only Coffee Shop In Town

October 22, 2009

The only coffee shop where I can sit down, enjoy a steaming cup of joe, open up my computer and work unmolested is the McCafe at McDonald’s. This is an unfortunate fact. It’s not that I love the ambiance, of screaming children, beeping registers, bubbling grease, and a tinny sound system playing cheesy Spanish love ballads at concert volume. But McCafe wins by default. As the police have reiterated in the press, one must not walk around with a laptop computer in public. If one does, and gets rolled, then the theft is classified as “carelessness.” Additionally, most coffee shops lack internet, or comfortable seating, or more than 3 tables, or proper ventilation, or a management policy that prohibits bums from begging or selling pencils or stealing your bun when you’re not looking.

It’s the armed guard at the door, however, that gives me the greatest sense of security at McCafe. I know that I have a persona gumshoe mere feet behind me, ensuring that I reach my parked vehicle intact. Because after dark on the streets, anything goes. So I’ll sit here, sipping my McCappuchino, while some Mexican skank bleats on about how she likes it when you touch her, with an aromatherapy of Special Sauce and stale fries, banging away like one of those monkeys who just might write the complete works of Shakespeare.