The Porch Sitter
I have become the expert on my neighborhood, because I am a porch sitter now. Covid turned me into someone whose favorite activity is indirectly socializing with my neighbors. Even though we are all vaccinated and I could technically directly socialize with them again, I prefer it this way. I like to sit and think about work, talk to neighbors who pass, watch the hummingbirds, read or do the crossword. What I’m really saying is, I’m nosy and I like fresh air.
On my porch I curl up on a blue couch I bought in 2015. Until this year it was in good condition. But my sitting on it, every day, with the heat weathering and everything made the seams split. So now, a thick, multicolored crochet blanket lays on it, to cover the holes.
Because I sit on my dying couch every day. I know, for instance, that there is a dog across the street that screams when he hears a siren. It sounds like someone is cutting off his toes. I explain this to the walkers who worry when they hear the dog.
“It’s the siren.” I say, loudly enough to hear me from the street. And the walkers turn their heads in my direction, often shocked they are not alone.
I know the dark-haired lady with the black dog and the white dog.
I know the blonde lady with the three small white dogs.
I know a man who looks like Santa Claus with a cattle dog who doesn’t use a leash because “she’s too smart for that.”
There are two huskies, one is fourteen years old and one is three.
There are two French bulldog puppies.
There’s a couple who jog together. One of the men is tall and one is short. The shorter man is always far behind his partner. I see the tall one run by, and I wait, watching for the shorter one.
There’s the eighty-year-old man with a neck hump who dresses like it’s Sunday at the country club. He walks around the entire neighborhood in proper clothing. He always waves and smiles, and I return the greeting.
And often, at sunset, I get up from my couch and walk on the flat pavement of my street in slippers. I look up at the large spiders hanging from the old Magnolia trees that line my street. Large, black spiders are everywhere if you look up. They are suspended across the road from the magnolias on one side of the street to the magnolias on the other side of the street and just hang there like Christmas ornaments. I don’t know how they’ve formed webs across the street, but they have. There are hundreds of large spiders above, hanging over the middle of the street. It’s awful and spectacular.
I wonder if the spiders see each other the way I see my neighbors.
And I wonder if my neighbors ever look up and see the spiders.
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