There are lilac trees in the heart of town. I haven’t heard a lark in any other part of town. Does enchantment pour out of ev’ry door? No, it’s just on the street where I live.
Except for the lark part. I don’t think I’d know a lark if I heard it. What I do know is that despite my community being the undisputed state leader in hate crimes and meth production it has actually grown on me. Relatively.
The boys and I went for a walk today. I had to go pay the water bill before they shut it off. This is a pattern. The local water company is the only bill we have that is not paid online. Hence it gets set aside with stacks of refinance opportunities and magazine renewals. It’s a big pile. Basically everything goes in it except for checks and porn. It sits on the table and collects dust and other random items looking for a place to stay. I never even notice it until they send the BLUE one. That means I have to pay it and quick. It also means that I get to write little notes on the check in the memo area, stuff like “GET ONLINE” or “PayPal would have deposited this 3 weeks ago. ” You know, witty banter. They love that shit.
Anyway, we’re on a walk and we’re having a good time. We pass the excellent deli and sandwich shop. We pass a quaint florist and a fantastic nursery (the one we walk to and get our Xmas tree every year). We passed boutiques and antique shops, veterinarians and chiropractors. We pass the best pizza place in town, some great Mexican food, a wonderful cafe and one that kind of sucks. We walked by 2 barbershops, a few garages, the library, the post office, a dive bar, the police station, the firehouse, a couple of dry-cleaners, a few markets, a boxing gym, a hardware store and a karate studio. We had been walking about three minutes. If we had walked the same distance in the other direction we’d be at the elementary school. Ten minutes the other way we’d be at the park.
I looked at everything that was around us and realized how nice it was to have it all within a few hundred yards of us. I knew then what I must do. There was one place I needed to go.
We stopped and paid the water bill. I smiled as I handed the woman my payment. She smiled as she took it. There was music playing, I’m guessing on 8-track.
The boys and I went outside and decided to go to the place that we hadn’t been. A place that is as high on my priority list as anything- pizza, deli, bar, and that of course is coffee. There was a little place that we never went in because a) it closes really early, and b) it looks like a dump. We went in.
They had ice cream for Atticus. They had coffees, fresh salads and sandwiches. There were donuts and muffins made fresh that day. I bought 2 donuts, a cup of ice cream and a blended coffee drink. Hey, it was our lunch. It cost me 5 bucks. Suddenly my neighborhood felt much smaller. It felt like my neighborhood.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going out there after dark and I’m not putting down roots. It’s just nice to know that were I’ve been treading isn’t the mill I thought it was. I guess it took leaving that job I hated, oh how I hated it, to get the stink out of my eyes.
Zane was wearing a fireman’s hat. The firefighters were standing in their driveway polishing their truck. They talked to the boys and praised the choice of headgear. Then we talked about fresh donuts and someone made a joke about coffee. We waved as we turned the corner and then we were home.