Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Multiple Realities

I walked Vallejo neighborhoods this weekend with a friend of mine, handing out flyers about a free vaccination shot fair for pit bulls and pit bull mixes coming up next weekend. It was a warm fall day, with clouds chasing each other across the sky. The streets were fairly quiet, people were just hanging out at home, sitting in front yards chatting with friends or working in their yards. That slow Sunday hush hung over the neighborhoods, the one I used to lament as a kid because there were no other kids outside playing.

As I walked door to door and chatted with people, I was reminded why Vallejo is so special – our people and our neighborhoods. We hear so much negative talk about Vallejo's crime and financial problems. And while I know that is a reality, it's not our only reality.

The reality I saw on Sunday was what Vallejo is all about: working class people who work hard and were enjoying a day of rest; neighbors feeding watermelon to neighborhood kids; the man stopping his car because we were looking at a map, and offering to lead us to our destination; the genuine smile from the man who didn't speak English, when I spoke to him in my broken Spanish; the taxicab driver who went out of his way to help us find Wilson Park.

These weren't the gated community neighborhoods we were walking. Yes, we saw some drug dealing. There were empty houses that had been repossessed. There was poverty and there were signs of hard times. But everyone we approached was helpful and friendly. Once we told them what we were doing, their faces opened up, they smiled, and they took flyers for themselves or to give to their friends who had pit bulls.

It was good to be reminded of Vallejo's other reality, the good reality, the reality that will ultimately help us recover from the tough times we're in right now.

The vaccination shot fair is geared towards helping lower income residents – and their pitties – and is being hosted by Bad Rap, Greater Vallejo Recreation District and the Benicia-Vallejo Humane Society.

When: Sunday, October 12
Time: 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Wilson Park (Solano Avenue at Wilson Street)