Saturday, October 14, 2006

day three: the stoop sale


My landlady is in a sweater and shivering on the steps, outside in the cold and surrounded by nick nacks. Autumns been confirmed but she wants to have one last stoop sale. People are lumbering around the tables, poking through her garbage, but I haven’t seen anyone make an offer, not yet. Its all crap though, gaudy glass lamps and creepy figurines, broken kitchen appliances and cheap paperback pulp, so who would want to? The only person that would want to buy it are people just like her, who will likely end up selling it two summers down the line in a pathetic stoop sale of their own. Half priced. I never even bother to look through the shit she’s offering. I’m polite. I pretend it isn’t there, like a foul smell or a ghost.

She has lived in this brownstone all her life. Her parents bought it before she was born. My office, our smoking lounge, used to be her bedroom. She would slide down the banister and sneak out as a teen, she says she did this a lot, that’s how it got so loose. It was once one great home, now its three separate units. I'm on the top floor, she’s on the street level, and we have neighbors on the first floor, the middle unit (they bore me).

When her parents died they left the house to her, and she’s very protective of it. At least once a month she has to come into my apartment and poke around. She leaves us notes. Random hints and tips on how better to take care of our place. Sometimes we read them, sometimes we don’t. We like the place. We take care of it. Get off our back.

It’s fifty degrees outside. A few people milled about in front of a toaster oven, still in it’s box. An elderly lady stood and stared at a rack of clothes. I walked up to her and asked how things were going and she rolled her eyes and bundled her sweater and said its going, its going. I smiled and grunted and went back inside. The skies are clear but the wind is sharp and on the news they said it was gonna rain tonight.

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.