week 6/52 — comin’ up from the bottom

I met my neighbors for the first time yesterday. We’ve lived next door to each other for over three years.

Sure, we’ll say hi or wave when we see each other coming or going, but it’s never been more that.  No real conversations.  No casual chitchat.  Hell, I’ve never even gone the extremely basic extra step to say Hi I’m Josh.

The snowstorm last week changed that.  It wasn’t that bad of a storm, probably 5-6 inches with another inch of ice underneath.  More than normal, but not what anyone in this part of Ohio would call a blizzard.  I shoveled the driveway several times during and after the snowstorm, so it wasn’t in too bad of shape.  However, the snowplows finally came lumbering down our street Friday night, and pushed a bunch of wet and thick slush onto the bottom of the driveway.  This then had the temerity to freeze overnight.

I was excavating this heavy mess yesterday morning, and it was going fine but slow, when my neighbor appeared like a Columbia-clad angel and offered to help.  I accepted, and when we were finished, I helped him dig out his car, which had been walled in by the snowplows.  When we were finished, he said, “Oh, I’m REDACTED by the way.”  I told him my name, then we exchanged the names of our respective families.  I am comically awful at remembering names, so I had to memorialize theirs in a note on my phone, otherwise they would have whistled out of my head in a matter of minutes.

I don’t think we’ll become friends or anything, but it is nice to know one’s neighbors a little bit.  Also, let’s hear it for mutual aid.

Last night we went with friends to see HAMILTON.  I am a sucker for a good musical, and HAMILTON — or HAMILTOE, as I cannot stop referring to it — did not disappoint.  Afterwards, we walked over to 1Eleven Flavor House for dinner.  The vibe was chill and the food, a mix of comfort and Caribbean dishes, was delightful.  I had a jerk turkey burger and several Latin Mules.

Near the end of dinner, one of our friends remarked, “Hey, we went almost the entire time without talking about COVID!”

I had to think about it for a second, but it was true; aside from a passing reference to someone we knew having COVID, the subject didn’t come up once.  It was probably the first time since the pandemic began that COVID and its tentacles wending into everyday life had not made up a significant part of the conversation.

It was a fun, absolutely normal day, and I am grateful to have experienced it.  More like it, please.

I didn’t get any good pictures yesterday, so instead I will share this totally not haunted photo I took a couple weeks ago in the basement of a house we looked at. Not pictured: the ghost of a small child regarding me curiously from the shadows.

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