Monday, March 26, 2007

Neighborhood Drama/Neighborhood Bonding, Part One

David caught me staring at the palm of my hand when we were having supper the other night. What's wrong with your hand? Nothing. I'm just looking. There's nothing wrong with that. Thank you.

I could have put an hour's worth of of exposition into that expression of gratitude, but the real meaning behind Thank You when I say it to my husband means more than one word, or one treatise, is able to convey. If live with him till I'm a hundred and three and thank him for one specific thing every day, I won't finish. I'm most humbled when I can't express the depth of my gratitude to and for him. The irony in all this is that he doesn't really like to be thanked. So I skip my exegesis and trust that in his heart, he knows he really is my hero.

The point of all this is that since I quit working for the church, I've been able to look and be and think. After two weeks, I stopped cringing when the phone rang. After three weeks, I stopped dreading Sunday evenings. After nearly four, I stopped seeing an emergency in every small situation. I don't dread the regular reminders of how utterly insignificant I am. I haven't blogged, or really spoken, about this Un-named Thing because it hurts and I haven't thought it wise. But, a writer has a right to write about what informs her story. So I will. (But just a little bit.)

I've turned my rediscovered powers of observation mostly to the garden. Because I live in an urban environment, "my garden" summarily includes my entire city: my neighbors, my postman, the garbage men, the neighborhood policemen. I've learned a lot. I've noticed the way my postman smokes his Camel cigarettes like a jazz musician. He walks like he's driven by the smoky twang of an internal upright bass. He's a postman by day, but at night, I bet he's cool. Cool in the Miles Davis sense of the word. I like to watch him go up and down the street in his Postal-Service issue minivan. He sees it all. He knows it all. I imagine he turns our stories into a series. of. machine. gun. scats. at. Ona's. on. Saturday. night. Ahh. Half John Coltrane mathematical trainwreck and half J-I-L-L-S-C-O-T-T easy and honest. That's my neighborhood. A Love Supreme.

My across-the-street neighbor bathes his dog on the sidewalk once a week. Of that pair, I don't know if dog or human is most fortunate. They have each other. And from what I can tell, that's just fine. My closer neighbors are a commune of upper-class hippies who call themselves a band. Three men and one wife live together. I've noticed that the wife does all the work. When they practice, if that's what you can call the first few few bars of Crazy Train played over and over and over again, the Postman shakes his head. He knows and he sees, but more importantly he hears, what passes for music these days. I have other neighbors: neighbors who don't cut their grass, neighbors who call the police on other neighbors who don't cut their grass, neighbors who don't speak to those of us who are Southside newbies and most responsible for the gentrification they see all around them, neighbors who have their food delivered by Schwanns, neighbors who might not eat at all. But the neighbor I've noticed the most, is the neighbor who probably notices me the least.

And now, my blogging time is way past gone. I'll post the rest of the story tomorrow.


Ginny said...

that's cruel...but clever. to leave me hanging in anticipation for the next installment.

Jason Harmon said...

will part two be about police men, news crews, and brownies? ...or will that be part 3?

my security word that I have to type to post this is


just letting everyone know

susan said...

Ginny, I'm neither. I'm just finding that this story is going on a little longer than I anticipated!

Jason, yes. You appear in Part Deux. I left out the part where I fell off the porch, though.

My word is mkaayy.