After letting out the dogs last week, I retreated to the Kearney Street shops between 23rd and 22nd avenues, a place where one used to be able to buy crack for a song. A pornographic song, but a song nonetheless. Ah, push it, push it, push it. Not so anymore. I was waiting for my designer sandwich to be prepared at Tables, had dropped off my dry-cleaning across the street, and was sipping on a delicious mocha from the Perk Hill coffee shop on the corner when I was struck by just how yuppie this stretch had become, how transformed it was. There's an art gallery now, a pet shop with the fancy food - not the bovine intestines - a wine shop where the concept of a 40 is entirely foreign, and a community supper store, next to the unshakable Dardano's School of Gymnastics. I couldn't believe how much the block had changed. But suddenly, I noticed something. There, across the street, scratched into the plastic panes of three newspaper kiosks in a row, were the words: "I Hate You." Only problem was, the disgruntled youth had misspelled his vitriol, scratching, "I Hat You," on the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and Denver Daily News boxes.
I smiled. I smiled not because of the error, although it was pretty funny. I smiled because I knew right then that despite the new yuppie surroundings in which I found myself, they can never really change Park Hill. Park Hill will always be Park Hill because our schools are phenomenally shitty. It's what makes us us. You can pump the blue blood into Park Hill all you want, but you'll never take the ineptitude out of our classrooms. And that will ensure the diversity that we have all come to expect out of the hood, at least intellectually.
And while there are some who may be upset over this random child's hate and his need to publicize it, indeed some who might feel the need to notify school officials, I took it all in stride. That child, like so many children I knew, lacked the smarts to carry off any sort of real school havoc.
It felt good to be back in Park Hill. -- Adam Cayton-Holland