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It’s early Summer, officially or not, and the sounds of the city have already begun.
Someone is taking their sweet time pawing through the cans and bottles across the street. Trash and recycling night, although we save ours and throw the winnings in the laundry money jar.
Downstairs there’s a party that I’ve repeatedly been invited to. No, thank you, despite the fact our new neighbors are lovely and normally quiet I’m not in the mood to meet new people. You have to be in the mood to meet new people sometimes. Their voices funnel up through the alleyway and bounce against the attic walls through the open window. They’re greeting each other with niceties like “How the hell are you!” and “Is this your new place?!”
No, it’s my place. I’ve lived here on the corner for nearly two years which is also about twice as long as I’ve lived anywhere with the exception of my now-sold childhood home. I wish all four floors of this house were ours and that somehow we could magically conjure a 1/4 acre of green space to plant a garden, and a table with two chairs, and a little umbrella. Those missing things would make this place perfect. Sena called our house ‘the ketchup and mustard’ house to make sure she had the right place once. I just love that.
Cans and bottles. Party guests. The slowing and idling of cars moving through the intersection outside. The cop cars and paddy wagons have a more serious grumble to them and although J. doesn’t believe me I swear I can tell the difference between them and regular cars just by the sound of the engines. Life is all about the smallest details.
I ran my gas gauge down to the very bottom on the way home from Yarmouth tonight. I hope that I can start her in the morning. I also need to buy cat food. This is about as bad as it gets these days, so I feel pretty okay about that. The cats are just pretending to be hungry, they’ve been snacking on the undone dishes all day.
Kiley says “Hi!” whenever she hears the apartment door open. She wouldn’t stop saying “Bye” when I left this evening, full of pizza and soda, making me think she and Ya-Ya were trying to get rid of me. She also yells “Go! go! go!” when she slips down my legs like they were a slide on the playground. The slide is her favorite thing on the playground.
You can hear an owl halfway up the block about an hour before sunset lately. It’s weird, because we are also three minutes from I-295 and Marginal Way. She doesn’t hoot like a regular owl, but kind of moans about something that makes you think she didn’t mean to end up in East Bayside. Also, the crows are getting worse on the rooftops, now, which is to say that the crows are getting better. They will do a better job of waking me up in the morning than my alarm clock, and Yuna makes this funny chirping noise whenever he sees birds out the window. I like the crows.
Why is someone playing frisbee in the street? Frisbees are the worst things ever to be made out of plastic.
I’ve been thinking about a story I’d like to write where a retired neighbor moves to a more affordable apartment in the city. He’s got a little toolshed in his yard and he fills it with his lawn mower and garden tools and volunteers to help the single mothers, ESL families and graveyard shift fathers fix up their yards. The neighbors can’t pay him but he won’t hear of it anyways and just says that all he wants is to join them once a month for dinner. The story would be about all the different meals and all the different families and the neighborhood becoming really beautiful inside and out.
I worry that the noises outside are keeping up the neighbors’ children. They have about five of them, and they range in age from about 3 or 4 to at least 10. Keeping kids up past 11pm on a school/work night is ludicrous.
Sometimes you can see stars over Portland but tonight is not one of those nights. The sky is murky and dark brown to black, with little lights in windows everywhere. The trees on Munjoy Hill are darker and you can sense from the air that the ocean is waiting on the other side. I can’t wait ’til the summer and the saltwater are warm enough for night swims, even if I’ve only done that once or twice in the past, it really is the best.
The cars begin to slow and the owl has stopped completely. Laughter and party sounds continue to swell. There’s no escape from the noises of the peninsula in summer.