I am trying to acclimate to my new town. Moving from a two Starbucks town to a thirteen Dunkin Donuts suburban city has required some adjustments. I’ve accepted that people here wear bedroom slippers to the liquor store. We didn’t have liquor stores in my old town so I didn’t even know that was an option. It seems a couple of friends of mine who do not live in this town also wear their bedroom slippers to the liquor store. Maybe that it is wrong to wear your bedroom slippers out of the house beyond the driveway to fetch the morning paper was a misbelief that I had. Although I will keep my slippers inside, I will no longer be bothered by people who do not. I am also trying to be less annoyed with the neighbor who randomly puts her trash out. Our trash day is Friday but perhaps Fridays are her Sabbath and she can’t so instead she leaves trash barrels and bags in front of the house sometimes on Tuesdays and Saturdays and any other day that suits her fancy. I am letting that go. I am even trying to not be bothered by the naked man that I saw sitting on his porch last week. That might be more of a repression but I am trying not to dwell on it. Things here are just different.
To really get used to the town, Ive decided to map out a regular walking route that passes through a variety of neighborhoods. I leave my little nest in a wilderness littered with wild turkeys, rabbits and woodchucks and walk past a house with a huge vegetable garden. In the early spring and summer the older Indian couple who lives in the house tended to it daily. They sat on milk crates and used hand tools to weed and hoe and sow the vibrant seeds. Soon signs of life were everywhere and fruits began to form. Now that it is late summer, the suburban farmers still sit on their milk crates and tend the garden but during all that hoeing, they seemed to have forgotten that watering the garden is essential. It is now a dust bowl with shriveled pumpkin and cucumber embryos scattered about. I then pass a lovely tennis club and head through a housing project littered with children playing tag and riding mismatched bicycles. It’s a lovely community atmosphere until the Irocs pull up with music blaring so loudly that the babies on the porches with their teenage mothers begin to cry. Then I pass a machine shop and welding company and then the naked man’s house. A few blocks of well tended yards and one with a filing cabinet in the middle of the yard, and not one of those little two drawer numbers, this is a full fledged fur drawer unit, and I’m into the commercial district. I pass and excellent Vietnamese restaurant, a tailor and two pizza shops then start to loop back home and waht a difference this half is.
Just pass the nail salon with the flashing neon “OPEN” sign is a mom and pop ice cream stand lined up with families who have wandered over from the little league field just beyond. There’s a playground there that is constantly filled with toddlers and expectant mothers chatting. I turn right and pass a Congregational church and just beyond that a historic museum. There’s an old farm house hidden behind the grand elm tree and just about every house has lush sweeping perennial garden. I pass a smokey blue house with two apple trees in the front yard and a classic Porsche in the driveway along side the Passat wagon and I’m just about home.
I could change my loop and walk solely along the well groomed lawns. I could pass the white collar joggers instead of the multi-pierced and tattooed teenagers. I could stop and pet the cocker spaniel that is stuck behind an invisible fence rather than crossing the street to avoid the rottweiler. I sometimes wonder why I don’t but realize that where things are a little less groomer, things are a little more alive.