They’re out walking.
I’ve been doing it for years — after sixteen years of being passionately in love with driving, I had to stop and find my way around the world in that old biped way. It took me a really long time to fall back in love with the slow steady pace of seeing everything on my path to whatever destination I was going to, but I have. The only thing I’ve been missing was company. The temperature skyrocketed to low seventies today, and with the announcement of a New York City lockdown, the sidewalks in my neighborhood have come back to life.
Amid the panic and the fear and the social distance, a glimpse into my past is coming back to life right before my eyes. I remember when this neighborhood always looked this way — well, maybe not as many people holding plastic and glass rectangles in front of their faces as they got outside, but at least the people being there, that’s what’s familiar. People live here.
People live here.
Shit. Did I forget that? Have I been spending so much time online because it was the only place where I found proof of life?
I can’t be alone on this one.
I have been struggling since my son was born as I looked out these windows. I looked out into the neighborhood that I was born into and could see memories of my brother and I and our friends running through those streets, playing manhunt on those lawns, selling candy to all of those houses. But in the present day vision, I saw no one. I’ve talked to so many people about this “play date” generation and how, as a mom, it was difficult for me because, as a child I didn’t make appointments with friends, I bumped into them on the street. There haven’t been any kids or people for my son or I to bump into. I started to forget that people lived here.
We can’t technically bump into each other now — as we must keep our social distances — but I see them, and they see me, and we can smile and say good morning. It’s something like connection. It’s something like community. It’s the memory of the neighborhood I loved. I’m so happy it’s still here.