I get off work at night, and I skate home (on a skateboard...so stop the mental image of me on rollerblades). There are a few blocks that are a bit shady at night, and I wouldn't recommend most people walking around there alone. I, however, am completely comfortable traveling through them.
And I know why. It's the same reason I had no problem living on the west side of S.A. for a while. It's because I used to go to dark, horrible spots in Austin to score. In retrospect, I really put myself in questionable situations...but I didn't care, because I needed junk.
There was a moment that I'd like to share. One night, I contacted my guy to meet later than usual. He had me meet him at these stairs that lead from the I-35 overpass to the edge of Town Lake. I got there, and as I expected I had to wait a bit for him to show up.
It was creepy and pitch black there. I kept looking to make sure there wasn't anyone around. I started thinking about what I was taught as a kid...don't talk to strangers...don't go to certain places in the big city at night...watch out for "bad guys"...the ones in the shadows looking for an easy target or a score...
And I looked at myself. I was unshaven, dirty, strung-out, wearing a hoodie, and carrying a knife and a skateboard. I was standing in the dark, waiting to get drugs. I thought, holy shit, I'm that guy. Nobody wants to rob a sick, desperate and armed junkie. I can even imagine thugs in a car I skated or walked by saying, "Lock your door, holmes..."
It's just something I was thinking about recently that makes me appreciate where I am right now and what I have that much more. I intend to start performing again, by the way...but I'm no rush. I still have a long way to go to get back on track.