Susan's Blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

The people that you meet
When you’re walking down the street
They’re the people that you meet each day!
— Sesame Street

I feel I need to devote a blog post to the people in my life, rather than the objects, who are also Keys to the Universe; no-fail relationships, people that pretty much always do what I hope for. They are people I do not really know very well, but I’m always happy to see them. (I am probably not going to list obvious loved ones — Ned, the boyz, Mom, Dad, Laura, et al., because those relationships are eminently satisfying and also at times deeply frustrating, but completely necessary to my most colorful happiness.)

1) The shoe repair man on Alton Place. It is a less-well-known fact that I am incredibly hard on my shoes. When I love a pair of shoes, I wear them all the time and, trust me, they never have a rubbery or resilient sole. They are often simply pretty and therefore ephemeral in their structure. So to my little shoe repair man, I say, shoes off to you for always restoring my chausseurs to their original appeal.

2) The dred-locked Barista at Peet’s on Harvard Street. She never remembers my name, but who cares? I’ve given her made-up names before, so she allows me to be “Lilia” at times. Anyway, she makes me my high-maintenance drink, as foamy as I need it to be, every time.

3) The dry-cleaner on High Street. He is unfailingly cheerful, and always gets out every single stain, can sew anything, even foil-wraps my delicate buttons, and never shrinks anything.

4) The guys at Pizza Stop, Cypress. Where would an exhausted mom be without weekly pizza take-out? And now, when I call up and say, “I’d like some pizzas delivered,” they immediately say, “What would you like, Dear?” and then they ask if it’s me, just to be sure, and then they help me remember Ned’s complicated toppings. They say, “half an hour,” and it’s always less.

5) The crossing guard policeman at Cypress and Walnut. He is so careful with all the precious little people who cross by him, and also doesn’t make me wait too long when I need to make my left turn in my car.

6) My mailman. After he delivers the mail, he takes a long jog through the neighborhood. He also stores some of his things on my porch because it feels safe to him.

7) The tree guy, Dave, from Hartney-Greymont. He knows how to give me more sun, and he always asks about Nat.

8) The guys at Family Restaurant. They make my Greek salad exactly the way I need it to be: romaine, rather than iceberg, (what’s the point of iceberg, folks? it is like scrunched up paper and cold water.) They are the best-natured guys in the world: I can imitate them, and they have a really funny sign outside, and they never get mad if I laugh at it.

9) The cat outside the Institute of Psychoanalysis in Washington Square. He/she/it is black with faint dirty rust markings and his meow is rusty, as well. He is one of those love sponge cats who just wants to walk in figure eights around your ankles. I always say, “There’s that funny cat that I love! Hello, Sweetie!”

10) The guy who packs bags and brings back carts at Stop & Shop, the French guy. He knows how to pack exactly the way I like it, as if he knows the very layout of my cabinets. He puts pasta with cookies; tuna with kidney beans; all fruit together; ice cream with Purdue Done It, which I freeze, cereal and nothing but cereal. No tiny bottles of spice forgotten and thrown away, hidden in the rumpled the bottom of a bag of freezer goods. Once he followed me out and unloaded my stuff for me. I’m sorry I forgot his name at the moment, this happens to me more and more lately. It’s at the tip of my tongue.


The people in my neighborhood.(1) My friend Cynthia who works in the same town that my daughter goes to school in. She is always happy to give Punkin a ride home or drop something off for me. (2) A man that works at the store by my house. I don’t know his name but he is always so nice to me when I go in there and when he found out that Punkin is autistic, he said that I can bring her in anytime and that he wouldn’t let anyone make fun of her. (3) My sister LaDonna, she has given us so much! Whatever I ask for she always dig deep down into her pockets and give. (4) and I have to add my twin in Boston, I am so thankful that I stumbled across your blog. Your twin in Alabama

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I used to play a game in the car with the kids, “Who are we grateful to today?” — often the person named was someone like the folks you mention, everyday folks who, in the course of doing their jobs, made our lives easier.

The portapottie pumping guy was a big hit during the 2 weeks the sewer line was out at the kids’ school.

But really, starting the day with gratitude is such a nice practice.

And noticing and being grateful to everyday folks adds a nice dimension.

— added by Liz Ditz on Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 5:18 pm

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