If you follow me on Twitter then you may know that I’ve started a little experiment. Over the Summer, weather permitting, I’m taking my reading to my front steps. I live in a pretty, old residential neighborhood. Sidewalks, tree-lined streets, well kept front yards – in the Summer it’s not quite Norman Rockwell, but it’s pretty darn close. With one exception. Washington Street is a ghost town.
That might be a slight exaggeration. People walk their dogs, there’s the occasional yard sale and you do see people mowing their lawns. There’s a small orthodox Jewish community and I always like seeing the families walking to synagogue on Saturdays. But you don’t see the neighbors standing around talking. Or sitting out with a drink and enjoying the evening breeze. No one really uses their front yards. They just maintain them. It’s weird.
My family is included in that weirdness. Our garage is in an alley behind the house, so other than taking our dogs for a walk we barely use our front door. We know a few of our neighbors, particularly the one family immediately next door. Still, I thought it would be interesting to try something a little different.
So far I’ve gotten some curious looks. My neighbors across the street (who I know enough to exchange waves and gossip a few times a year) waved to me as they got home from grocery shopping. I had to apologize to Mike next door because my two dogs, guarding me vigilantly from behind the storm door against possible squirrel attacks, went crazy when he took his dog Molly out for a walk. I glanced up between pages and saw a cardinal. Then a rabbit. Neither expressed any interest in what I was reading, but that was probably for the best. How would I explain Roger Casement’s work exposing the atrocities committed in the Congo and Peru to a cardinal? It might have put him off his worm.
I wouldn’t exactly call this a challenge – but if anyone would like to join in on the experiment you can post your findings / or a link to your own post in the comments section. Or, if you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #stoopbks