For those of us who love to garden, a day of pruning and planting can be brought to a tragic and abrupt halt in the urban environment by many factors. This is why safety should be the primary consideration while working in your ghetto garden.
Disoriented, desperate crack heads, angry drunks, roving gang bangers, unlicensed and undocumented drivers and packs of unsupervised children are the sworn enemies of the urban gardener. It is of the utmost importance to be well prepared to deal with them before an awkward encounter sends you either running for your life, to the hardware store to replace stolen tools or worse yet, to the emergency room.
Rule number one is NEVER work with your back to the street for extended periods of time. The urban gardener is well aware that at any moment and out of nowhere, violent and dangerous bouts of “Street Theater” such as the “Drunken Domestic Brawl” the “Prostitute Punch Out”, the “Fire with the Gun at an Angle and your Eyes Closed Gunfight”, and, the “Teen Tot Mom vs. Baby Daddy Tussle” can explode at a moments notice all around you with no warning; trust me, I’ve seen all of these–so be ready.
Keep your eyes open and your game face on. Working with a partner is the best way to go but obviously it’s not always possible. Tucking a small container of pepper spray or a Taser in you pocket is an excellent precaution, although it may or may not work on an urbanite under the influence. Given this point, an array of gardening tools also multitask as defense weapons if the need arises. We will delve more into that in chapter three.
Never make extended eye contact with anyone you don’t know because as with a rabid dog, extended eye contact can provoke a negative encounter with a variety of urbanites, ghettobillies and the like. If this does happen, stand up straight, shovel in hand casually, and with no outward sign of fear. As they pass mutter “wusup” while keeping a keen view on them with your peripheral vision in order to be prepared to run from an attack from the rear. Appear to be studying your project until they are a safe distance away and then continue your work. Remember, the urban gardener is ready at a moments notice for fight or flight
Rule number two in urban gardening is NEVER work with cash or a wallet in your pocket. Many urbanites assume that if you have money for plants and tools, you probably have spare change for them. The savvy urban gardener comes up with a good rebuttal to combat these kinds of situations. Phrases such as, “Sorry Bro, I’m broke as a joke” or “Naw, I blew my chedda’ on this shit, son” are phrases that will, in most cases, calmly send them on their way while helping you blend into your urban setting.
Rule number three is, while there is a vast array of garden implements to choose from, always use a minimal number of tools and keep them no more than an arm’s length away at all times. While it may seem like just a shovel to you, to a crack head, that shovel will bring them a few bucks closer to their rock, and believe me, even cracked up, they are quick and wile little bastards. Other mundane items such as cordless or cell phones, cigarettes and a lighter and even an open bottle of beer, if left unattended, can be a target of theft while you work so keep these items out of sight.
Rule number four is never garden bent over. This position is dangerous in a variety of ways. It makes you more vulnerable, it can be seen as an invitation to obnoxious males and it lessens your ability to observe your surroundings effectively. Squatting, sitting on the ground or kneeling are the safer alternatives.
In summary, urban gardening can be a relaxing and pleasant experience for the well prepared urban gardener. Be ready for anything because it’s always ready for you.