Welcome to Voxopop! I’m glad you’re here!
I’m guessing you clicked here for a story about how Voxopop! got started.
This story is about how a life, my life, got turned on its head. I’d like the opportunity to take 60 seconds for this — maybe a little longer. Here we go.
I was born in Spruce Hill, a neighborhood a few miles west of downtown. I frequented the playground just outside the elementary school. This is where I spent most of my summer days. I would often hang out there, trying to relax and stay cool. Basketball was my favorite game. I would shoot the 3 ball like nobody’s business. One day, a couple of new faces came by the park… I could tell they weren’t there to shoot hoops. These guys recently started to make trouble in the neighborhood. They started to go after my friend Shorty, so I threw a punch.
One small fight was all it took. My mother got terrified for my safety. She said to me, “You’re moving out to your aunt and uncle’s house in California.” This was the worst possible news I could have received. All my friends were here in Philadelphia. I tried everything. I begged. I pleaded. I couldn’t get her to change her mind. She even packed my suitcase for me AND called a taxi. She gave me a kiss, handed me a ticket, and closed the front door. Just like that, she sent me on my way. To freaking California.
In that moment I realized I had a choice: I could either wallow in self pity or make the most of this opportunity. I put on my headphones and told the taxi driver to get me to the airport. The flight was, well, bad. I was in first class — but I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do. I had never seen orange juice in a long-stem champagne glass before. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I asked the person sitting next to me if they had ever been to California. He said he had. He seemed to enjoy the area. I began to think that maybe this move would be all right. However, then I remembered hearing how pretentious the people could be… I started to worry that I might not really fit in. Philadelphia is very different than southern California. I decided to reserve judgment until I got there.
The plane landed and just as I got off the jetway there was a very large man standing there… He had my name written on a board. For all I knew this man was a cop. I had no reason to fear because I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I was honestly scared of getting arrested. I had just got there after all… But, as one does, I did get scared and sprang out of there. I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty fast. Like, lightning fast. I lost the guy and disappeared outside. As quickly as I could, I hailed a cab. I whistled to get the driver’s attention when it came near me. “A California license plate. Nice. I’ve never seen one up close before.” I thought to myself. The cabbie was a nice, calm person. I asked him about the fuzzy dice on the mirror. He said they were from his brother. The rarest thing about this cab though was that the driver had a newly cut red rose pinned to his jacket. He asked me where I was headed and I gave him the address of my aunt and uncle’s house.
Took about an hour or so to get there. “It’s the seventh or eighth house up here,” I told him. When we pulled up to the house, I thanked him and tipped him generously. After all, my aunt and uncle are quite possibly the wealthiest people in the area. The cabbie thanked me profusely and asked me if I wanted to sniff the rose on his lapel. “No thanks, I’ll smell ya later,” I said. He chuckled and drove off. I turned around and looked at this mansion. Heck, it was so large you could call it a kingdom. I was finally there — ready to have a seat in the high castle. It occurred to me then that my uncle and aunt were basically the king and queen of the area, which, in a way, made me a new, fresh prince of Bel-Air.
Thanks for reading.