One day in 1998, I spent my bus ride home from work conversing with a middle-aged black woman who taught Special Ed in (black) Far Rockaway, where I had recently lived.
When we reached my Queens neighborhood, she started explaining it to me with great self-assurance, saying it was full of military families who served at the local army base. I wasn’t aware of any military base, but I’d only been living there for a year and change, and maybe she knew something I didn’t.
Soon enough, I determined that there were no military families, and no base.
A few years later, on the same bus, the black driver started talking about the “military base.” I couldn’t take it anymore and told him there wasn’t any base.
“It’s a secret,” came his response.