Thursday, May 7, 2009

Can You Tell Me How To Get to Sesame Street?

Monday afternoon the power went out, just as the girls were waking up, just as I finished some writing in word (that I had not saved), boom, no power. It was late afternoon, just the time when you really need to have lights on, especially in the back of the long narrow apartment that faces west. With no flashlights to be found I lit a candle and helped Mary and Kate dig out their sandals from the floor of their overgrown closet.

Monday was a perfect spring day so we headed outside with Mrs. Roosevelt, curious to see if it was just us or if everyone was in the dark. Immediately I knew, the whole block was out, neighbors and friends were pouring out onto the sidewalk. We wandered down the street stopping and talking to people I had never seen before, all curious about the power, most blaming the construction going on at the end of the block. The play lot was full, everyone grateful for the nice weather and the forced reason to be outside.

Just for a moment I thought we were living on Sesame Street. Even though we don't escape through our garage to our car every day, we really don't spend the time spouting from the front stoop that I find integral to city life. The girls love to play in front, defacing the public sidewalk with chalk, riding their tricycles into others gates and over the flowers, and having meetings with their friend Evelyn (which consists of huddling under our "tree" in the mud) but my always romanticized version of urban life has me sitting on our front stoop chattering with our diverse neighbors for hours. The children are playing in the open fire hydrant (it's always summer in my dreams), the grandmother like woman next door brings out cookies for the girls, and we spend hours speculating as to what really goes on with the old Asian woman who walks the street everyday wrapped in a wool scarf with her daughter about five steps behind (this actually happens but I do the speculating all by myself).

We've got a full summer ahead of us, there is a fire hydrant in front of our building and the construction will be going on for months. Maybe they can knock the power out once a week, I'd really like someone else's take on the old gal in the scarf, I'm a bit tired of my own opinion.

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