Tuesday, May 19, 2009

People say I live in a bad neighborhood. . .

Walking home from the nearest Metro, NY Ave:

I have the hiccups. The kind that make you think of that cartoon character who used to hiccup and see pink elephants in the living room. I only had two glasses of wine! And white wine, at that.
I walked home tonight, about a fifteen minute walk.

Every time I passed a person, I tried to control my hiccups. It never worked. There are a lot of bad influences in my neighborhood. Today it was me.

I took a bunch of side roads, when I could. I'm trying to get to know the neighborhood as well as I can before I move tomorrow morning.

Trucks with rolled down windows playing loud music got songs stuck in my head.

A little girl, 3 or 4, was sitting on a tricycle in her front yard. She looks at me and says, "Hi!" I say, "Hi!" She informs me, "I'm just going to ride my bike." I tell her, "That sounds fun!" Her mom laughs at us.

I pass an adult-sized bike parked in the middle of the sidewalk. Am I prejudiced if I assume that belongs to an African-American? The bike with the fluorescent safety stickers on it that is U-locked to a fence inside a yard? That, I assume, belongs to a white person. The neighbor is in the process of gentrifying.

I pass two people, a man and a woman, speaking in sign language. (I was about to say ASL, but I really have no way of determining what sign language someone is using. I still assume it's ASL.)

I pass Gallaudet's campus, which I've never visited.

I walk on Florida Ave., M St., L St., and K St., plus all the numbered streets in between.

A guy about my age is standing on the sidewalk outside a rowhouse. They're all rowhouses around here. A girl walks out the gate and puts her bag on the ground near him. Several other people exit the house, walk down the steps. They aren't speaking, not while I'm near them. I'm acutely aware of the sound of my heels clacking on the sidewalk, like those of a junior high school teacher in an empty hallway. I wonder any of them can hear my shoes.

I see a rose bush the size of a front yard. As I pass it, I realize it's only a quarter of the yard, but it's taller than I am. I want that rose bush.

A girl, 6 or 7, is riding a pink bike much too big for her. She's competent on it, though. She stops, dismounts, puts her foot up on it. Her brothers - brothers? - continue running down the sidewalk. An older boy, too young to be her father (I hope), an uncle maybe, a brother, a neighbor, ties her shoe before she gets back on.

I text my friend about going out tonight. One last night in the city, right?

I love this neighborhood.

No comments:

Post a Comment