Join 3,513 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Boy About Town
March 24, 2014 9:17 AM   Subscribe

What 11-Year-Old Kareem Granton Saw During 5 Days Roaming New York City (Warning: Slideshow format, but with original artwork.)
When Kareem Granton ran away from his East New York home recently, he spent five days in the wilds of New York City before he was found by a Good Samaritan. Kareem spent nights sleeping on the subway and days, mostly, at Chuck E. Cheese’s. “It was a very big world,” he said of his adventure. “I didn’t think I would probably make it.” He did. (And doctors who checked him out after his return say he’s safe and sound.) Here’s how Kareem describes his journey.
posted by Pfardentrott (32 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Deslided version
posted by blue_beetle at 9:37 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


That's really moving, thanks for posting it.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:46 AM on March 24


Dear Lady Who Recognized Him and Asked Him if He'd Been Found:

Asking a runaway if he's been found is probably not the most effective way to ensure his safe return.

At least she gave him some free McDonald's, I guess.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:03 AM on March 24


A bit more about the story.
posted by yoink at 10:14 AM on March 24


I love how the the second slide the description of the guy's mohawk is that it's "bluish, greenish, with a tiger-striped pattern" but in the picture it's pink/salmon colored.

Cool story with cool artwork though. I like that artist's style a lot.
posted by gucci mane at 10:23 AM on March 24


So, if I take this story at face value, this little shit didn't want to take care of his dog, so he left home, stole from a few businesses, got found, and got McDonald's and comics drawn for/about him and his pretty much unremarkable experiences as a reward? Why is this even a story? Who's selling what?
posted by cmoj at 10:24 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


What? Cmoj?
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 10:34 AM on March 24


His descriptions of NYC street and subway life do not in any way correspond to anything I've ever experienced in over a decade of living in New York.

I'm trying to figure out whether those parts of the story are embellished (they sound like exactly the sorts of things an eleven year old would like to have seen) or whether this is yet another angle on the idea that there is a New York of haves, and a New York of have nots, and they overlap only rarely.

There's a Tom Sawyer angle to this that is fascinating to me.
posted by Sara C. at 10:35 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


You know what? He's 11. If he had some reason to leave home that was more significant than not wanting to clean up after his dog, then I don't want to know about it, because he's a little kid, and people should respect his privacy. And if there isn't more to the story than that, then I'm not going to blame him too much, because he's 11.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:37 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Am I missing something? Is that not the extent of the information we're presented with here?
posted by cmoj at 10:40 AM on March 24


11 is right there, right there on that cusp between being a more formed person and being a little ball of spaz energy and feelings. I remember getting mad at something ridiculous and making a fool of myself at that age. It's much easier to run and hide and make it worse than face the fact that you were acting "stupid" and apologize. Maybe that is what happened to young Kareem.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 11:00 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


His descriptions of NYC street and subway life do not in any way correspond to anything I've ever experienced in over a decade of living in New York.

That is so crazy since all the rest of your experiences match up so exactly.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:05 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


Am I missing something?

It wasn't his dog, he was describing things he saw, not things that were his doing.
posted by mathowie at 11:06 AM on March 24


His descriptions of NYC street and subway life do not in any way correspond to anything I've ever experienced in over a decade of living in New York.

I've felt this way about a lot of things that people described in cities I lived in, where I'd say "I've never seen that happen in San Francisco/Portland/Los Angeles." But then I thought back to trips I've taken to big cities and on my first trip to London, my first time in NYC, and my first time in Belgium, I had really bizarre things happen to me that never happened again on revisits. I don't know if it's just being unlucky, or that if you go back to a place ten more times you don't see weird stuff happen and it all kind of settles out in your mind as a stable place to visit.
posted by mathowie at 11:10 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


It wasn't his dog, he was describing things he saw, not things that were his doing.

cmoj is responding to the fuller account in the news article I linked to. He ran away from home because he didn't want to clean up after his dog.
posted by yoink at 11:12 AM on March 24


That is so crazy since all the rest of your experiences match up so exactly.

Yeah, that's what I said in the very next sentence after the one you responded to.

Either way, I have ridden the subway to every borough that the subway goes to, in all hours of the day and night, including sleeping on it when I didn't have anywhere else to go, over the course of many years, and I've never seen anyone on the train with a big dog. Let alone a big dog shitting on the floor of the subway. Which doesn't even make sense in terms of basic dog behavior.

I've seen humans shit on the floor of the subway (and worse), but never dogs.

Not saying it couldn't happen, but it's much more likely that the kid is misremembering, misunderstanding something observed half-asleep and dreaming, or conflating several different incidents. Not out of malice at all, but just out of being eleven years old and experiencing what must have been a very disorienting situation.

I think that, on the whole, there should be more comic illustrations of kids' verbatim accounts of things. It is a really cool way of peeking into somebody else's reality.
posted by Sara C. at 11:12 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


WHAT'S OUT: Voight-Kampff

WHAT'S IN: Story About An 11-Year-Old In A Potentially-Unsafe Situation And Whether Your First Reaction Is To Call Him A "Little Shit"
posted by Greg Nog at 11:15 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]


Not saying it couldn't happen, but it's much more likely that the kid is misremembering, misunderstanding something observed half-asleep and dreaming, or conflating several different incidents. Not out of malice at all, but just out of being eleven years old and experiencing what must have been a very disorienting situation.

Given that this particularly kid was on the run because he'd refused to clean up after his dog I'd say the odds of that story being either a dream or some other kind of creative reassemblage of that original incident are pretty high. I think the affirming subtext of the story, for him, is a kind of "dogs, man--they shit anywhere they want to. There's no dealing with them!"
posted by yoink at 11:17 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


I think because of the style of the drawings, I had sort of the same reaction of "wait, did he run away in 1985 NYC?" But I think Matt has it - I've been here long enough that the things that caught Kareem's attention are the ones I instinctively file away as Somebody Else's Problem.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:18 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


There's also something about this that taps straight into a feeling I had all the time at this age, but don't have a lot of words for.

It's a melding of child and adult worlds, where suddenly there's all this stuff that you're aware of, but it just makes NO SENSE whatsoever to you. So you sort of cobble it all together into some kind of cohesive thing so that you can keep all the mind-stuff in self-contained mind-boxes and keep moving through life and figuring stuff out. By the time you're a proper teenager, the world becomes grokkable again and that feeling of deep disconnect between the life you know and the wildness of this other thing gradually ebbs.

Either way, the salad plate thing at Chuck E. Cheese is really fucking smart. I wish I'd thought to do that when I was down and out in New York once upon a time. I did used to steal milk from Starbucks, but damn.
posted by Sara C. at 11:20 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


I actually agree, this is not the standards of journalism I'd expect from 11 year olds.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:21 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Which doesn't even make sense in terms of basic dog behavior.

Well, sure, but werewolf dogs? They'll shit anywhere!
posted by Floydd at 11:43 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I can understand cmoj's point of view if I think of his parents, who had five truly horrible days triggered by an entirely reasonable request, but yeah, 11 year old. They do stupid things, they are old enough and smart enough to get themselves into amazingly complex trouble and just don't have the parts of the brain developed properly that sees consequences. Mercifully, in this case, the consequences were only a little bit of hunger.

I'm not really entirely sure it's the best idea to give him attention, though. You want him remember the hungry and kind of scared bit, not "and everyone took my picture and I was in the paper and had a cartoon done about me!" Because that's the kind of thing that a little kid will seek out again.
posted by tavella at 11:47 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Well, sure, but werewolf dogs? They'll shit anywhere!

And the worst thing? When the full moon ends, it turns into human shit!
posted by yoink at 11:57 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Sara C.: "There's also something about this that taps straight into a feeling I had all the time at this age, but don't have a lot of words for."

I know exactly what you're talking about. When I was a kid I distinctly remember reading what appeared to be a whole genre when the pre-teen kid runs away and forages/fends for themselves. There's usually a sidekick/younger sibling, and they tend to make rational decisions at first, then their whole plan to live off of change from the wishing well at the museum they're squatting in falls apart.

Growing up, I always wished I had lived in New York City, between the subway, friendly cab drivers and the robust museum system, an 11 year old me could have hidden for weeks.
posted by Sphinx at 4:34 PM on March 24


Oh, man, did you read Homecoming, too?
posted by Sara C. at 4:36 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I loooooved Homecoming, but I think that Sphinx was specifically talking about From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which made me, too, want to run away to New York and live in a museum.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:29 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


My Side of the Mountain puts a wilderness spin on that particular genre.
posted by striatic at 6:06 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious beat me to it.

And then striatic beat me to my second choice.
posted by thecjm at 7:36 PM on March 24


His descriptions of NYC street and subway life do not in any way correspond to anything I've ever experienced in over a decade of living in New York.

Really? I didn't think it was that crazy off. I think in NYC, or any large city, you tend to willingly ignore and zone out of the things that bother you as a natural coping mechanism (aka thick skin), so you don't really remember the really weird things. The longer you live in such a city, the easier it gets, so even though spend vastly more time in the city, the more these weird events just slide out of your memory.
posted by suedehead at 11:10 PM on March 24


Seeing a large wolflike dog shitting on the subway would NOT be one of those things you just tune out as a part of the atmosphere.
posted by Sara C. at 11:26 PM on March 24


I have never seen it = no one has ever seen it
posted by shakespeherian at 4:34 PM on March 25


« Older Sir Ian McKellen walks the Royal Shakespeare Compa...  |  A detailed, completely mental,... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments