From the bottom, some guys and I were cheering for the lady ahead of us climbing up the wall. She looked tired and unsure but I encouraged her to keep going until she reached the top, especially since she waited for almost an hour to get the opportunity to try. It made no sense to quit. Unfortunately for whatever reason she decided to stop. She was taken down quickly and then it was my turn. I was told that I was climbing the hardest portion of the wall. The lady before me, among others have failed to reach the top. Nonetheless I grabbed on the first rock and quickly scaled up the wall. On my way up I noticed my japanese exchange friend Kazuna came down from the wall next to me finishing her climb. I soon reached the 3/4th point where I had no place to step my foot on to climb higher. Looking up, I saw two rocks above one another that I knew i'd have to jump to make. I did so and pulled my way up and then finished strong letting out a "woohoo" before dropping down.
It felt so good to make it there. This was the second wall I faced. The first one was at coney island amusement park when I was 14. A whole crowd gathered around and watched me huff,puff, and sweat desperately trying to scale the wall even though I didn't make it past 8 feet in any attempt which was basically 3 steps. I vividly recalled the man in charge of the wall climb berating me by reminding me that the purpose was to climb UP the wall. I wanted to climb up so bad and prove him wrong and save my dignity, especially after seeing a hispanic man appear and climb up the wall in less then a minute during my struggling attempts. The man in charge finally removed me from the ride and I felt all the eyes that ranged from pity, embarrassment, and of course indifference . I promised myself then i'd make up for that day. I didn't think it would be 9 years later, but better late than never right?
An Unexpected Adventure
The song was blasting in the background as I danced along with some old friends and new friends grooving to the beat in a circle, secretly wishing that it would not be recorded for the public to see. It was the annual party at my friend's house. This was my third time here and I enjoyed every minute as usual from the food, to the music, and the people. But unfortunately all good things eventually come to an end, and it was already time for everyone to head home. My friends and I left because my homeboy was our ride home. The 5 of us got in and headed home. The first one got the boot after his phone was too slow to keep up with the GPS directions which somehow resulted in us taking the highway. I knew that didn't make any sense because last year my other friend drove two blocks and dropped me off at the train station. In his defense, that area in queens is pretty confusing and the address of my friend's place is somewhat in the middle of nowhere...However this did not prepare us for the following events........... (FYI the first guy was dropped off across the street from the train station because the GPS directions wanted us to circle the block to get there.)
My homegirl was the next person to drop off due to her living in Queens as well. She was the only person who had any drinks that night, because my homeboy was the designated driver, the other guy "needles" was on a diet so he didn't drink, and i'm not the biggest fan of alcohol. She said she was pretty bad with giving directions, and I guessed she was worried about giving us bad directions like the first guy did, even though it was with his phone. I remembered her giving us a a highly detailed description, about 5 to 6 sentences explaining that we needed to make a right at the green light. On the brightside, we knew where we had to go...or so I thought. Suddenly the directions started getting worse. Things like
"Ok, make a right turn.........no LEFT!!!" or
"blah blah blah blah, oh by the way, you should've made a left turn three blocks ago"
This was gonna be a bit tougher than I expected but it was all in fun. Everyone is laughing, especially my homeboy, though I wondered how much extra gas the extra traveling cost for all the detours. At some time, I looked out the window, and noticed that the blocks weren't as bright as they were when we first began driving. I jokingly called out the mcdonalds that looked extremely sketchy and warned everyone that we were in the ghetto area. Come to think of it, I never knew where my homegirl lived.
At one point she called her sister and told her that "needles" would walk her to the door to meet her for the first time. I took that as a sign that we were close, but after going under dark bridges and quiet, alleys, I wasn't so sure. At one point we all see a street sign called "Liberty Avenue" (Grand theft auto reference perhaps?) It didn't help that my homegirl was still confused on where to go. At one point stating that we weren't supposed to end up where we were. She then stated
"Never mind, I know where to go from here. Turn left. We're just gonna go through the projects"
Being that we were already in an unorthodox situation, there was no surprise that we laughed this off too. Although, given that situation, I couldn't help but feel a little suspicious. After going down the last empty alley, we turn left (althoughs we were originally told to make a right turn) and ended up on a cul de sac................To this day i'm still confused with how that happened. We see about 10+ of my fellow black brothas in the street staring us down as the car pulled up to my homegirls house. As luck would have it, her sister was nowhere to be found, meaning she was still upstairs. My homegirl and "Needles" got out and went into the apartment to greet the sister. Meanwhile, my homeboy and I are waiting for a good few minutes. In that time, the guys kept staring our way. It was a pretty awkward situation, and I couldn't help but make fun of it. He was too, although I think he took it a bit more serious than I did when he suddenly locked his doors. I tried to look behind me to see if Needles was around but he wasn't. Suddenly a black car cruised towards the boys. They said something to the driver and walked away looking back at us. At least we figured they didn't call back up on us. The car suddenly made the U turn behind us. I signaled to my homeboy they probably needed to park so he drove up a head a bit. and then continued to creep up. Then I saw someone stick their arm out the window with a flashlight and we looked at each other, a mix between confusion and wondering if what we thought was about to happen was really happening were on our faces. Then I saw the flashing police lights and I knew that we were about to be searched.
Could this night get any more awkward? The officers approached our door and I noticed Needles was still gone. As he approach my side, I lowered the window first. I figured it would be better for them to request for me to open the door to prevent any miscommunication. As soon as I opened the door, the officer started asking me questions
"What are you doing hanging out here?"
"you have any drugs in your bookbag? or anything illegal I should know about?"
The officer didn't hesitate to dig into my bookbag as he asked those questions. tsk tsk tsk. I guess he used my bookbag that was conveniently in front of me as a loophole to be able to "legally" search my bag. Technically an officer can do that if they suspect A person is attempting to hide something. This guy definitely knew how to use the law to his advantage. I wondered how far he would push. After asking me to step out the car, he immediately gave me a patdown. I shook my head as I already knew that would pass just because i'm big, black, sitting in a car, therefore i'm potentially packing which justifies a patdown. Well played. I'm not sure if the recently banned stop and frisk policy applied to that so I made no comments. He asked me a few more questions about my livelihood to where I mentioned my P.I background. On the bright side, his tone was a little less accusatory now. My friend Needles finally arrived to "save us" although he was way too late for that. Before they left, I asked them the precinct they worked for and the reason for their stop and search. They gave me a reply that I couldn't really believe to be true but it wasn't worth it to dispute the issue. Our homegirl came out last minute completely shocked at what happened. I would've felt better if she said that happened on a regular basis.
After Needles, and I got back into the car, my homeboy drove off, anxious to leave queens for good. I think at that point, we all wanted to believe that something (other than my friends party house) was wrong with queens. As we entered the highway, we saw cars swerving in different lanes and almost hit us. On top of that, during a red light, the car in the left lane grew impatient after waiting 10 seconds and drove on through, not worrying about a collision..............What a night.