Sunday, October 21, 2007

The View From My Window

The Things I See From My Dining Room Window:

-The line for the soup kitchen at the church across the street. Like clockwork every Saturday and Sunday at 9AM. People of all colors, sizes and ages.

-At 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon there's a 50-something year old guy standing nonchalantly across the street next to the garbage dump with shades on. Every few minutes he looks both ways and then pulls out a can of beer he's tucked away on the garbage dump ledge where no one can see it and steals a swig of beer. He should make sure to look up next time he tries to drink anonymously.

-In front of the anonymous alcoholic there's a guy who lives in the building next door. I've never spoken to him before but I see him all the time and I believe he's on the autistic spectrum. I'm not sure he's able to speak. But, he's obsessed with cars and will stand by a car literally all day, polishing it every few hours and looking in the mirrors. He used to be watched over by our block's "mayor", a guy named George who had lived here for God knows how long. On most days - especially nice ones - George would take a chair out onto the stoop of his building at about 7 in the morning and sit there smoking a stoogie all day and chatting with other folks from the neighborhood, mostly kids and retirees. Every now and then I'd see George hobble over to the church across the street to mentor kids. After I got back from Alabama last summer George was nowhere to be seen. Turns out he had been arrested for allegedly having inappropriate contact with one of the kids he was mentoring. He came back for a month or so in May and since then I haven't seen him. I wonder where he went.

-The construction workers in front of the building across the street. They start drilling at 7AM every morning on weekdays and I still can't figure out what exactly they're doing. They're not building a new structure or fixing the sidewalk, at least not as far as I can tell. But they do make a lot of noise.

-If I stick my head out the window, I can see, on the stoop where George used to sit, a group of high school kids gradually taking over his domain. On Friday evenings they'll occasionally sit out there with a six pack and have a good time. I played basketball with one of those kids.

-People living life in New York: mothers pushing baby carriages; a couple going out for a jog; and people of all ages walking East to West, from Amsterdam to Broadway, where they turn the corner and disappear.

Out of view.