Something Old

Ok, I’m joining a blog party hosted by the OTHER Mother. It is a little February nuptual of sorts. Today’s post is “Something Old.” Tomorrow’s will be “Something New.” Get the gist?  Feel free to play. You’re invited.

For my something old, I am re-printing here one of my first posts from my other blog. Old is a funny way to describe it, because it is just about a year old.  But it has been a very long year. In this post there is no mention of my uterus or its regions. Rather, it is about my neighborhood and my commute to work. It is one of my favorite posts. Enjoy.

The Walk February 7, 2007

One of the many things that keeps me wedded to an urban existence is the constant possibility, and present reality, of walking to work. Aside from the obvious benefits of daily exercise, fresh air, and the liberation from traffic and crowded subways, the walk makes this New Yorker feel like a small-town girl. It turns Gotham into Nome.Since moving into my Brooklyn co-op two years ago, I’ve beaten a path between my home and my school twice, sometimes four times a day. The possible walk route lies on a six-street by one-avenue grid. I like to mix it up and take different blocks once in a while. One of them has a house of a former student, whose mother once offered me free access to the grapes on their pergola. Another block has the house of another former student (I just like walking past their houses) and the added bonus of one house with a “Countdown of Evil” presidential ticker in the window and another house from which a huge dog (Marmaduke?) literally hangs half of his body out the front window watching the day stroll by. That block has the unfortunate minus of Mr. Mentally-unstable-curses-really-loud-and-tries-to-hit-on-me-even-when-I’m-pushing-a-stroller who likes to stand on the corner cruising for chicks. Despite its charms, I only go down that block on the really cold days.

I have found my favorite block. One side of the street from end-to-end has houses obviously originally built by the same person. Over time, the owners have made each home unique. Some have closed in their porches, others have added pink trim around the edges, or covered the original brick with siding. I love just walking by and noticing all of the things they’ve done to their little homes. The other side of the street is more of a hodge-podge of porch-bellied homes, many with makeshift decks built onto the roofs of the porches. One of them even has a hot tub on the “deck.” Look out below!

What all the homeowners on my favorite block seem to have in common is an enthusiasm for the holidays, with various levels of cheese and sophistication. I love them all: the simple yuppies with their monochromatic lights and strands of evergreen; the enthusiastic Jews who not only had Chanukah lights, but were burning no less than five actual menorahs in the window one night; the ones with the funky glass brick snowman, who’s shimmering beauty was balanced delicately by a leafless bush adorned with small red ribbons; and my favorite the uber-holiday house conveniently owned by the art teacher at my school, which has more decorations in the 13X8 foot front yard than the rest of the block together. Even in the lull between holidays, this block celebrates with seasonal flags in their flagpoles and delicious lawn ornaments including a “Hang in There” cat on a fake screen door and an antique water pump with a faceted crystal dripping from its spout.

The characters on the block make it equally entertaining. I love the lady with the three-legged dog and two sulky teenish kids. Part of me thinks she’s a lesbian mom, too. I’ve seen the kids waiting for their bus, and the mom who walks the dog, and some other lady. The other part of me acknowledges that I just want a lesbian-run family on that block. Then there’s the bi-racial family with three little boys, all of who remind me of my own B at slightly different ages. The mom reminds me of Lisa Bonet halfway between Cosby and Different World with a dash of Park Slope. She’s prettier, though, and lacks that crazed look in her eyes. The dad looks like a lumberjack. Or a college professor. I wish I could be their friend. My favorite resident is Rifle Guy. I haven’t an inkling of his age. He seems like a teen-ager, yet he looks like an adult. I guess they don’t have much of a backyard, because Rifle Guy practices throwing a wooden rifle and marching on the sidewalk in front of his house. He does it about as often as Marmaduke keeps watch of his little nugget of the other block. I don’t know if he’s in a marching band, or if he is a civil war re-enactor. I just know that he’s serious and persistent. I like that in a stranger.

One thing about Rifle Guy: I think he thinks I think he’s some kind of weirdo. I can’t find the perfect facial expression to wear to show him how I feel about him and his block. I smile, and it looks like a tongue-in-cheek smile. I make no face and it looks like I’m avoiding his gaze or I’ll crack up. What I want my face to say is: keep twirling that rifle, Rifle Guy. Spin it fast and throw it high. You are the embodiment of this little block. You are infinitely serious, determined in your love of your craft, and kitschy in a good way.

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2 Comments

Filed under blogitty blog blog, NYC What is it about you?, teaching

2 responses to “Something Old

  1. I guess they don’t have much of a backyard, because Rifle Guy practices throwing a wooden rifle and marching on the sidewalk in front of his house. He does it about as often as Marmaduke keeps watch of his little nugget of the other block. I don’t know if he’s in a marching band, or if he is a civil war re-enactor. I just know that he’s serious and persistent. I like that in a stranger.

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