~ Thursday, September 25, 2003 ~
Some of what I saw while walking home today
1. Johan, the doorman of a rather posh apartment building a few buildings west of Drisha. I used to see him twiceish daily in July, when I lived nearer to Broadway and took the 1/9 to and from school. Now, because I live near Central Park West and take the A/B/C/E line (although lately I've been walking instead of riding...soon enough the weather will prohibit it, so I revel in doing it now before I can't, and by the way, the weather was glorious today--I walked outside and instantly decided that the progression of seasons has my permission to halt right here and stay put for a few decades before proceeding--B.I.D.) and have very little occasion to ever walk toward Broadway, I haven't seen him at all since arriving, until today, when I had to walk toward Broadway to visit the nearby Citibank. He happened to be standing outside greeting some residents, and he stopped to chat for a bit. He's almost exactly my age, and very friendly. Back in July, after my third time nodding/smiling to him as I passed, he broke rank for a moment and ran over to introduce himself. He still remembers my name. We chatted for a bit and caught up, which was sort of funny since even though we hadn't seen each other for a while, we weren't exactly anything more than casual acquaintances previous to that. What is it about long separation that suddenly makes it acceptable--expected, even-- to act much more attached to someone than you ever were when you saw each other every day? Not that I object to it. It was nice. Johan is Dominican and lives in a predominantly Dominican neighborhood somewhere north of Haarlem. He's a student when he isn't a doorman, and he's planning to buy an apartment soon, which impressed me the way it impresses me when I learn that some of my married classmates are 22 or 23. No one should have his life so figured out so young.
2. President Bush, and his entourage of police people. Apparently he's in town.
3. An angry guy yelling at someone. He was voicing some rather dramatic grievances and coming up with some pretty creative epithets, too. It was a whole show. The object of this tirade, though, seemed to have left before intermission, so Angry Orator was performing for an absent audience, which was touching in a tragic way. It reminded me of Berkeley.
4. Girls jumping rope, double-dutch style, just exactly as I remembered them doing at Roosevelt, down to the angle of entry and the arm motions mimicking those of the ropes that they did while establishing the rhythm before jumping in. (Even the predominant hairstyles were the same--cornrows, or those roped ponytails that start out large and poofy and dwindle down to nothing, where they're crowned with plastic barrettes in bright colors and girly shapes. Remember those?) Actually, only one of the three girls I watched managed to hold her own against the two spinning ropes for more than a few seconds, but that was pretty consistent with my memories too.
5. Girls playing a circle game with singing and handclapping. Their mothers sat on a nearby bench, chatting while they watched. I might as well mention, while I'm here, that this and the above item happened in the projects, the new housing development aimed at the low-income set that's being built between 102nd and 104th and between Manhattan Ave. and Amsterdam Ave., so if I want to walk down 103rd straight to Broadway, I walk through the housing projects. It's the sort of place through which my parents would hate to think I was strolling unescorted, because there are people who stand on the corners and play loud music from their boomboxes (does anyone still call them that?).
5. A lady of 70 or so wearing the brightest yellow blazer I've ever seen. I'd have called it mustard. She called it pumpkin*.
6. Men sitting outside and playing dominoes. Other men sitting outside playing checkers. Their wives, looking on.
7. A nervous-looking guy snorting something.
8. A fire engine sans sirens, but avec flashing lights, and avec aussi un Jolie Rouge attachait to that feature of the truck that would be the (erroneously dubbed) "second brain" if the truck were a stegosaurus.
9. The magnetic tape of an audio cassette. unwound and strewn across a subway grate. Air was blowing up through the grate and making the tape flutter about 10 or 12 feet into the air, as if it were the outline of a stalk of superterranean kelp. I wanted to take a picture, but had no camera. Now I have a camera, and no kelp.
*The color of the blazer, not the blazer itself, and this only after being asked. Although man, that would have been awesome if she had just addressed her blazer as "pumpkin" as a matter of course.
~ prattled by Miriam at 12:33 a.m. [+]
* * *