Sunday, September 15, 2013

Neighborhood watch.

August, 2013

On my way to Grady, I pass under this bridge everyday where a significant number of unstably housed people--likely patients--sleep and pretty much live. Men. Women. Old. Young. Black. White. Latino. They form little pallets that follow rules of personal space and their belongings are usually neatly stacked next to them. 

That is, until someone comes and moves them all which seems to happen every week or so. But it only takes a couple of days for them--or a new crop of people--to return.

For whatever reason, I always feel a bit relieved when they do. Return, that is. 


One time I saw a man sitting on the curb with a bottle of water brushing his teeth. He waved his hand at me and smiled with a mouthful of bubbly foam. And me, I laughed and waved right back. Last week, I saw two men and a woman doing jumping jacks and lunges. I honked my horn and gave them a thumbs up. But most of the time, I just see heaps of blankets strewn across cardboard--with or without the tell-tale lump of a human being underneath. 

I guess it makes sense that the authorities get called to come brush this little mini-borough of people away. I mean, I guess. The area has gone through a bit of a revitalization and lots of new condos and lofts are just steps away. I would imagine that some person walking their dog has looked and noticed and felt some  kind of way. And honestly, I can't judge that dog-walking homeowner for feeling how they feel when they feel it. But what I will say is that something about seeing everyone peacefully co-habitating along that strip of concrete always warms my heart. 

December, 2011

I suppose the dog-walkers can somewhat blame me and some of the other Grady people I know for a part of this. Confession: We've all been known to drop off a blanket or two on the colder days and okay, even a pillow once. We may or may not hand food out of the window during morning traffic or lunch leftovers as the work day has come to a close. And sure, I guess it could be considered dangerous to do that but I admit that for whatever reason, I never feel afraid.

I don't.

September, 2013

But this? This is what I saw the other day. And you know? I'm not sure who did this. I keep trying to to wrap my brain around someone pulling it out of the back of their truck or SUV and plopping it down under the bridge. And then everyone sort of communally sharing it in the same way living room furniture generally is shared.

And no. I have no idea what the story is behind that chair. Perhaps it could be just some lazy person who didn't feel like taking it wherever it needed to be taken. Maybe.

But maybe--just maybe--that dog-walking homeowner wanted his or her new neighbors to feel at home, too. Maybe.  

And you know? Something about imagining it through that lens made me smile. 




  1. smile...we were driving along an old stretch of highway last week and there were several abandoned motels from the old days still it fairly good shape. I thought to myself this is where the country could spend some many people could have shelter (if they wanted it) Have you ever seen The Soloist(sp?) was a great movie...


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