This past week I made a call on one of my clients in Brooklyn. You’re probably thinking “Hipster” Brooklyn right now with a wonderful coffee shop and fun little stores on either side. The people walking the streets have an “I-something” in their pockets and they search for that bit of twee that will make their lives perfect. Nope, wipe that image out of your mind. The Brooklyn I went to adorns the top of fences with barbed wire and there is little plant life to be seen. Yes, a few trees have taken root in the broken concrete edges of the abandoned lots but I’m not counting them. For the most part, the Brooklyn I was in had little charm and an air of danger. My client has a warehouse out there and out there I went.
I parked my car in a fenced in parking lot. The attendant sat locked in a little hut by the gate. I screamed out my passenger side window, “Is it OK if I park here?” He screamed out his little window, “Yes!” I realized later that my client pays him to watch the cars of his employees and the trucks they use. I walked down the deserted street to the warehouse and it was mid block when I heard a deep voice…. “Hey sexy legs.” He said it in a long, low drawl from the shadows of one of the buildings. A homeless man. I should have been frightened or horrified. Instead, the inside of my head burst out into laughter and I took it for the compliment it was. When you’re young this happens all the time but as you get older…. it’s less frequent. After all of the surgeries and follow-up treatments of the past two years, I’ve been concentrating on my health and keeping a bit of distance from the self who has needs. You can’t get all sentimental when you’re cutting off or out body parts. The deep voice from the shadows broke through. I kept my laughter to myself and made my sexy legs walk a little bit faster. Laughter or not, the street wasn’t safe. Admittedly though, I’m ready to take any compliments from the shadows or elsewhere.
I saw my friend Emily this morning over at Cafe Grumpy and told her this story. We sat on the bench out front sipping our coffees. “I can’t believe the grumblings of a homeless man made my day!” She laughed and said, “We need to go out.” I couldn’t agree more.