Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Not always what they seem

I pulled into Smithtown West High School to cover our county's girls tennis team championship. It was 2:01 p.m. and I was bumping Nas, feeling good and..yo. What the heck? A woman was approaching my car with a full head of steam.

"Can I help you?" she said, knocking on my door. Here's what she meant: What are you doing here?

Oh, I get it. An unfamiliar young black guy pulls into public high school in an affluent neighborhood. I'm cool. I'm cool.

"Not really," I said politely, my door still closed.

I open my car door, grabbed a notebook and a couple of pens, and reminded myself that I really need to invest in one of those outdoor camping chairs that fold in and out. The woman was still standing there.

"Can I help you?" she said again.

For the record, I'm not that cool anymore.

"I don't think so, I'm OK."

"Well what are you here for?" She was looking at my notebooks, and I was looking at her like she was crazy.

"I'm here to watch tennis, actually," I said. Am I that scary? Are you that racist?

She relented and told me how to get to the tennis courts. All I had in my mind was a letter the athletic director, the principal. Yeah. I was gonna take some names.


I got home after filing my story, weaving through Harlem's Halloween night when my phone rang. It was a copy editor, his name is Todd.

He wanted to know what the mood was like at the school. Besides the woman who harrassed me and the two zombies who pointed me in the direction of the school, it all seemed fine. And it wasn't.

Two Smithtown High School West seniors on their lunch break were thrown from a car and killed and two other teens injured in an accident Wednesday on a stretch of Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown.

I probably looked like a reporter trying to get a story out of some poor, sad kids. Those two girls who I asked directions all made sense.

So much for that letter.

Posted by Darren Sands at 10:06 PM | link

Read or Post a Comment

I guess this isn't likely ... seeing as how this was the championship, but if I died, I think I'd want my school to postpone after school activities for the day. Especially if I died with another student/friend. But whatever.

Posted by Blogger T Dot @ 6:03 PM, November 02, 2007 #

Talia, your probably right. School officials, I think, canceled a whole bunch of other stuff. However, the school was just the site for the matches. The school's tennis team wasn't involved.

Posted by Blogger Darren Sands @ 7:53 PM, November 02, 2007 #

Ooooh, I've got a similar story...posting it now...

Posted by Blogger Aaron Morrison @ 10:27 AM, November 04, 2007 #
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