Sunday, May 14, 2006

Neighborhood tour

Yesterday, I went in search of a replacement knob for my washing machine.  This is the second one that broke--just a tiny twist too far and the brittle plastic gave under the pressure of my steely grip.

There is a bizarre hardware store a couple of blocks from my house. You can't browse in this store.  Well, there is one aisle you can walk down--one narrow, poorly stocked aisle.  Every thing else is behind one of two counters.  You ask for what you want and a quirky middle-aged black man fetches it for you.

Luckily the store was still open when I arrived--unpredictable operating hours are another quirk of this store. I was directed to ask the man behind the counter for what I needed.  

I showed him the broken knob and he said, "We don't have that kind here.  We only have stove knobs."

"That's ok.  Just show me whatever you have."

He smiled at me, "You're sweet.  I can tell."

I smiled back and half-laughed.  He told me again that they didn't have what I needed and I said it was ok, just bring them anyway.  And he did.  He hadn't lied. There were no generic knobs; all were designed for stoves.  But, oh well. I picked the cheapest one and took it home. (It worked out rather well.)

On the way there, I passed the Jamaican carry-out place.  It had these signs in the window:
pick one
My feeling?  Pick one.

I walked home on the other side of the street, where I passed one of the many check cashing places on H ST NE.
pick one
My question? Why $875?  Why not go crazy and offer loans of $900?

Next up, the obnoxious, amplified street preachers at the corner of 8th & H NE.

Today, I witnessed this odd exercise taking place outside of my bathroom window:
man in alley
The man was muttering to himself.  He lifted a tv (the second of two) out of his shopping cart and heaved it in the pile of junk.  It was at least his second load of the day.

Here he is again, pushing more stuff in the direction of the "junk yard" across the alley from my building.
junk man
Why is this poor (probably) homeless and (probably) mentally ill man carting things through my alley and dumping them behind an abandoned building? Is someone paying him to cart away their junk? Is he on a mission? What does it all mean? All I know for sure is that I wasn't going to say anything to him. (We frequently report the junk build up in this spot and it, occasionally, is cleaned up by the city.)

Another view of my alley:
my alley
A close up of the pile of junk:
junk yard

A stroll around the neighborhood today revealed this interesting lawn ornament:
lawn board
What can I say? It's wonderful.

Grateful for: my neighborhood.

Drop me a line.

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