Driving and Biking in the Big City

On the street where I live

with 2 comments

Street where I live

I drive down my street at mid-morning today and see a favorite neighbor I haven’t seen in months, or is it a year or so? It’s odd I do not know this man’s name and yet I know him well enough that we both smile, wave and talk for a few minutes like old friends. It’s fitting to my wanderer’s life as commuter that I recognize but don’t know my neighbors any more than I know the homeless in the medical center who I see often enough to similarly recognize, wave and acknowledge.

I knew all my neighbors by name 15 years ago when the houses were new and we all moved in here together. Our kids were in scouts, on swim team and attended the same elementary. We held block parties, visited easily from house to house and watched over each other’s children. However, by now, most of the original owners have been replaced by nameless, familiar faces. They still play with their kids in the street, and we wave and greet each other. I pet their dogs, talk to their children and occasionally sass the adolescent boys who sass me first when I ride by on my bicycle.

Of course, I’m nicer to these neighborhood boys, unlike the mischief-makers down the greenbelt who I speed by without a thought.  Some pre-teens moved in recently and decided to wolf call at me and holler sarcastically about my cycling fashion statement. I considered ignoring them but decided we should lay down some house rules. I turned around and cycled back their way.

“Hey, guys,” I said, and they were surprised to see me back. I could see them thinking about their next rowdy comment. “You don’t want to start hollering at me. I’m going to be biking by you most days, and if you sass me, we are going to have a problem. I live right here, and so do you.”

Hmmm, I could see them consider. Makes sense, their nods said.

In the olden days, when I taught at a boot camp for first time felons, I would tell stories of where their actions were leading. But, this time, they seemed to understand the situation pretty easily. I never had a problem with them again, and we smile and wave when I bike by.

My unknown friend today has at least 10 years on me, or could it be 20? He’s been retired as long as I’ve known him, making the same trek down our same street at about the same time every day – making adjustments for Daylight Saving Time, cold or hot weather. A tall, lanky character with a white visor, he walks many days, carrying a bag from the Kroger that is at least a mile away. I know he lives at the other end of the block from me in a house with a yard as meticulously kept as he is in his carriage and demeanor in his routine walks down the street. I suspect he is an engineer from his methodical ways. Perhaps some day I will ask.

We are bonded by a rescue effort a few years back as is the case with many of my neighbors in a community of beloved pets. This time, it was a sad, sick kitty who had been abandoned across the street from me, and he was trying to figure out what to do about it. We assessed the situation together and I decided to take the kitty to my nearby vet on my way to work. The next day, he stopped by to ask how the kitty was doing.

Unfortunately, things did not end well for the kitty, but I acquired a new friend in the neighborhood and a relationship that’s as dependable as clockwork.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

November 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Seriously ask the man his name! Hmmm, I’m talking tough. I know all the people I see almost daily walking their dogs as “Spot’s dad”, or “Fido’s mom”. In fact I saw Sophie’s dad yesterday at HEB and said “Hi, remember me, “Maya’s mom?” OK, I am on a mission to ask these pet owners names. Oh geez, I guess I have to remember them then!

    FYI I really enjoy reading your blog.


    November 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm

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