Saturday, April 26, 2008
Our neck of the woods, as I've mentioned before, is really a small town. It may be in Brooklyn, but it's not what you think: although NYC is synonymous with big, bustling, anonymous, those of us who live here know that its neighborhoods can be awfully Mayberryish.
In Mayberry Brooklyn, you can't walk 8 blocks (that's the distance between home and Hedgehog's school) without passing someone you know, at least enough to warrant a smile and wave, more often a passing conversation ("hey!" "Nice weather!" "The nicest!"), and sometimes even a quick stop to chat. Hedghog commented the other day: "Mama, sometimes I just want to walk along and think thoughts." Well, Hedgehog, that's just not the way of Mayberry.
Next characteristic of Mayberry Brooklyn: all news hits the pavement running. Everyone knows everyone's business before the sun is halfway in the sky. A typical conversation on my block which I'll call Elm Street: "Pssst! c'mere..." "hi, what's up?" "did you hear the news?..."
Take your pick:
a. "we think Vinton Calloway killed his wife, although she appeared at first to have died of a heart attack"
b. "Sally's roof fell in and she just boarded up the room rather than have it repaired"
c. "Darcy McAllen fell in love with that homeless guy who sleeps under the BQE overpass, and now she gives him part of her trust fund money every month in the form of booze and tube socks"
d. "Leah passed by here with her third Venti Iced Americano of the day...she must be hopped up as hell, I don't know how she thinks straight enough to raise that kid of hers..."
You get the picture.
Anonymous it ain't.
All that's missing is Aunt Bee--and just give me another five years...