There’s a young couple that lives across from me where it seems there’s constant strife. Frequently their spats take place near their garage, and so everyone can hear the details. Typically, first their garage door will open, and then we know we’re in for a show because that’s when things invariably get going. So I got the idea that the garage door is like the theater curtain, and when it goes up we get these quarrels, like one-act plays. The sparring lasts a good 10-15 mins, and sometimes the music from their car is blasting on top of everything else. Then the garage door finally comes down, and it gets real quiet again — the way it should be if you’re paying top dollar in rent.
Two men had the pool to themselves when I walked by earlier. One was at the low end of the water, facing toward the other end as if at the head of a table. He moved his arms as if smoothing a bedspread. The other man lounged on a chaise unabashedly, like he might do in the privacy of his own living room. He uttered things in a foreign language, lazily, matter-of-factly, to which the other man responded as he began moving slowly toward the other end of the water, walking slowly, as if a reluctant giant, then finally a segue into a swim. He made a surprising amount of turbulence for one man. The water slapped against the pool walls. Ripples formed and moved in sine-like fashion, as if jello responding to a bang against the bowl. The sun-filled afternoon topped out at 70 Fahrenheit and everything was quiet, save for the water and their voices. Now I’m listening to Chopin, and his piano notes trickle out of my Bluetooth speaker.
Yesterday I passed a pageant walker. This was on a nearby street during my morning jog.
Wearing workout clothes and gloves, he waved to me in solidarity as I passed in the opposite direction. He was walking down the center of the road, keeping a temperate pace as I briskly made my way down the sidewalk.
A thirty-something of petite stature with a relaxed and confident smile, his wave was slow and theatrical, not quick and to the point. It embodied stateliness and grandeur, as if he had been among other notables in the Macy’s Day Parade along 6th Avenue en route to Herald Square for some step and repeat to please the crowds.
He wore a white shirt — a rather loud adornment at such an early hour. The sun had not yet even risen.
I walk through my complex to start my jog several times a week. It’s still dark out, and I begin my run near the big tree across from the leasing office.
In the morning the sky is pretty because I can still see the stars, and I usually spot a constellation or two.
Today, the man was not yet outside smoking. I see him when I go by his home, on the corner where I turn to head down the block to the park. This morning his paper was still in his driveway.
The other day I saw him, having apparently returned from 7-Eleven across the street. He held his bag of groceries, and he flicked on a small flashlight and began reading headlines near his garage door while his paper was still in its wrapper, which I thought was peculiar. He was squinting and trying to make out the words through the plastic.
Most times the man nods when he sees me pass.
He is tall and older and wears a ball cap when he comes out to smoke. With that hat on and his demeanor and style of dress, he looks like he should live in the country and be on a John Deere.
The other morning, when it was chilly, he said, “Beautiful out.” I was running by with my hood on. “I wish it would stay like this,” I replied.
He then stared across the street at the horizon over the buildings, like he often does, as the sky reddened with dawn.