I’m Beginning to Hate This Town

Julius Givens
4 min readJan 4, 2022

Last Tuesday morning I found myself sitting in the waiting room of a local neighborhood muffler shop. A typical mom and pop car repair waiting room with a handful of mismatched chairs, a small tv blaring daytime commercials, tile floor with a third of the tile missing, and brown wooden walls — the type of place where you know the work is good but you’ll pay a fraction of the price had you gone to a commercial shop. I drive a truck from the late 1990’s and the original muffler finally needed to be replaced. As I handed over my keys to the mechanic and went to sit down in one of the rooms waiting chairs, an old man waiting said to me, “they got you, too huh?” Caught off guard I responded, who got who? “These motherfuckers cut my catalytic converter from underneath my car. My car was parked right at the corner, too — I’ll never park it there again. The old man begins shaking his head as he continues, “nothing the police can do either.” The old man looks down at the floor, still shaking his head, “I’m beginning to hate this town.”

There have been very few times in my life where I am at a loss for words. This is one of those times. Here sits an old man, crying out for help and I am speechless. The old man goes on to say that he’s lived in Chicago for 66 years and this is the worst he’s ever seen. “They take your car. Shoot you. And go down the street and do it again”, he explained. I wanted to ask his thoughts on crime in the 1980’s and 1990’s but decided against it — impart because he’s already answered my question. This is the worst he’s seen. This time it affects him, directly, his livelihood is up-ended which is the reason for our chance meeting. I sit silent and listen. He doesn’t know my profession or my name. A few moments pass by — the length of a commercial break on the television I hear in the background. His car is ready. The mechanic walks through the front door, cold winter air breezes in with him as he brings the old man his keys signaling that our time together has ended. The old man stands to catch his keys in his right hand as he looks at me with a smile and says, “happy holidays.” I reply, Merry Christmas as the mechanic walks the old man out the door to his car and back into the cold winter morning.

As the days counted down until the New Year my chance meeting with the old man grew more vibrant in my memory each day. In…

Julius Givens

A Chicago Police Officer committed to the three most important aspects of policing: Public Trust, Police Accountability, and Police Effectiveness.