19 October, 2011

A Sketch of Division Street

The trailer court was up on the hill and off to the left at the end of Division Street. You have to drive past the cemetery on Bone Hill and the St. Alice Home for the Aged to find it. When it snows bad, sometimes the plows don't make that far up the hill until well after 10 in the morning, which means the kids who live there either have to trudge down the hill to an available bus stop, or – since the drivers on those routes aren't supposed to let kids on the bus who aren't on their regular route – trudge the extra couple of miles across town and out to the highway bypass, where the new high school is. The smaller kids don't have as far to walk, since the intermediate school is in the center of town.

But none of them walk down the hill to go to school when the snow plows haven't cleared the way for the bus. And the parents don't call to complain. And the school doesn't call to ask if something is wrong. And a truant officer never shows up to question why – except in the spring, of course. They do take special care to make sure the wild kids from Barrett’s Trailer Court aren't out enjoying the day when they could be in school being ignored by the teachers and judged by their fellow students.

And although there has been some talk about “what to do” about the trailer park and the unwanted minions who reside there – the basic premise being that trailers are dirty no-good places, and that poor people have poor habits and that because of those two unrelated axioms … unrelated except for the fact that they are both applied to the people who live at the trailer park – there isn't enough consensus to get anything done. Whenever there's a break in or something is stolen, the first thing that Police Chief Dolarhyde does is roust the trailer park kids, since they're the most obvious suspects. That it rarely ever comes to anything doesn't matter; one of the ways the chief is able to keep his job is by sticking to the obvious. When nothing is found, the general assumption is that those white trash sons and daughters of whores simply sold it to someone from out of town for drug money or threw it away. 

The only time the trailer park kids get a break from Chief Dolarhyde's program of perpetual harassment is when the gypsies come through the area. And since the gypsies never stay in town, but find places to camp outside the town limits, they're considered a county problem, not a town one.