Dangerous Compassions

collapsed billboard

collapsed billboard

Hello, there was a collapsed billboard in our neighborhood.  It was a windy day.  Ming and I went to pick up my shorts from the tailor.  They had ripped, and the tailor mended them.

We pulled into the parking lot, and we were like, “What the hell is that?”  I thought it was a partially-made building that had collapsed, or a trailer.  Then we realized it was a billboard.


Ming was in the tailor shop, and I was staring at the collapsed billboard for a long time.  I wanted to get out of the car to photograph it, but Ming had left his keys in the ignition, and I felt kind of stuck.

As I stared, I saw two people walk near the collapsed billboard.  One was a white guy who looked rich.  I wondered if he was the owner of the billboard.

When Ming finally emerged with my shorts, he seemed confused about the job the tailor had done.  They had discussed it, when Ming dropped off the shorts.  Ming said the tailor would only take a dollar for the work.  It’s very strange, the interactions they have.

Ming said a few people were in the shop, and they were having a meeting about local neighborhood politics and supporting local Black-owned businesses.  Maybe it was awkward for Ming to witness that.

The shorts smelled like cigarette smoke, and I hoped they would still fit.  I didn’t understand how the tailor had obtained the green flower cammo fabric he’d used for the fix.  I guess it was tailor magic.


We circled around and took photos of the collapsed billboard.  Then Ming drove us home.

It was 15 minutes of our day.  It makes me think of urban decay, living past peak oil, Las Vegas as post-apocalyptic dystopia.  Industrial wreckage.  Capitalism means doing things as cheaply as possible, and safety is often thrown out the window.  We’re not even pretending that the well-being of people matters anymore.

I hope nobody was under billboard as it collapsed.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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