I love New York City and I try to head up there about once a year or eighteen months. One year, my mother decided she wanted to come. She’d always warned me about the hoods and criminals and worried that I’d get mugged or something. When she came with my sister and I, she was so hilarious. She was so sure we were going to get attacked she was imagining all kinds of things. The first night, we went out to dinner and on the way back to the hotel, she totally panicked because she saw a woman out walking her dog. It was really dark and the lady was very tall with a huge hairdo. The dog was a large afghan dog. They were at the end of the street and she went crazy saying, “oh no, oh no. We’re going to get killed.” My sister and I cracked up and told her to settle down and that it was only a woman and her dog.
The next few days were fine and then one afternoon, we came up on the subway on eighth avenue in a place we hadn’t been before and while my sister and I were trying to get our bearings and see where we actually were and which way to go, mom walked over to these four people who were clearly in a gang. They had on gang colors and were milling around the housing project. Mom asked for directions. Just as she did, my sister turned around, saw her and said, “Nooo.”
I walked over and thanked the men and pulled mom away. I told them she was confused and we knew exactly where we were. They started across the street and turned back and called out, “Come on. We’ll show you where to go.” They were heading up a hill to a dark area away from the crowd so we waved and said we had to go the other way.
Mom asked my sister and I why we were acting so odd. We said that those people were in a gang. She said no way because they were so nice. She said there was no way they were “huds” – that was what she said instead of “hoods”. My sister and I laughed for the rest of the trip because the crazy woman was afraid of a nicely dressed woman with a fancy dog and totally comfortable with a group of four young men who were loitering on a street corner.
So, profiling or not? Nope. My mom likes huds but doesn’t trust women who walk dogs.