Friday, October 1, 2010

Ho Hum

(during and

Dear Neighborhood,

The thrill is gone. Please find ways to delight me again.

- Your melancholy former fan

In fairness, it's not the neighborhood's fault. It's the same old burg it's always been. Sure, a heap more gentrification to the east, but some pleasant hold-steady closer to home. I guess it's hard not to compare it to where I've just been -- history, topography, majestic vistas, human kindness, street dogs and chickens roaming free.

We even came back to some little gifts from the City. Permit signs in the windows of derelict buildings. The new playlot, finally and gloriously installed at the local P.S. And what ho? The crumbling sidewalk adjacent to us, finally repaired after eight long years of griping about it. (Shall we say it together? 'Election year.' Whatever the reason, I'll take it).

It's been tough to be moved by any of it, though. Maybe it's the news we got: Two great sets of neighbors, moving away in quick succession. Or maybe the fact that my body's falling apart -- a grumpy knee, and now a disc-group herniation in my neck (a permanent condition that requires morning stretches, no heavy lifting, and the unplanned purchase of a pricey new bike). Maybe it's the casually discarded chicken bone that got lodged in Inez's throat this morning, causing gagging/choking/expelling that I thought might be the end of her. Maybe it's the end of harvest season, saying good-bye to our bounty of eggplant and tomatoes. Or some recent frustrations at work? -- Frictions I thought had long ago subsided seeming to rear their ugly heads again.

I guess I could point to a host of causes, but we all know these things are matters of perception. Right now, that repaired sidewalk seems like a dull gray slab of unforgiving concrete. But I remain committed, dear neighborhood, to watching it morph into some kind of tabula rasa, all the more amazing for having not a single flaw -- not a single carved name or set of pigeon prints (in our neighborhood?!) -- in its surface.

Of course it'll be the same old sidewalk. But when my view of it changes, I'm home.

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