The residents in my building would call our place, 'historical,' 'quaint,' and lovingly designed with intricate mouldings and delicate copper piping.
Non-residents would call the building, 'old,' 'funny-smelling,' and - 'old.'
The walls are thick- enough so, that you cannot hear the complete utterings during a fabulous row between the Mr. and Mrs. next door. The F-word and S-word come in quite clear, however.
The building is so 'quaint' there is no elevator to the second and third floors. Only the hearty/hardy har, har, need apply.
On my block, women layered in fur coats walk past homeless huddles who 'rent' the entrance ways of abandoned buildings.
Smart little cafes, art galleries, a music store, and an ice-cream shoppe, share space with the County shelter, the office for MI's (mentally ill) and thrift shops.
Church bells compete with the light house fog horn, wailing sirens, and the week-end, (presumably) inebriated couple who choose to argue just beneath my window.
College students study next to the hygiene challenged in our Romanesque library whilst the tall man shuffles, his head bent to the marble floors, to ask the librarian where he can find the writings of Voltaire- in French.
I think of what Christopher Hitchens wrote in, 'god is Not Great,' about the cruelly insensitive phrase, 'There but for the grace of God..."
Hitchen's reply: "There but for the grace of god goes, SOMEBODY."
I also think of Dorothy Parker who seemed so bitter and broken, her true feelings hidden in witty sentiments. I think she was haunted by how life was so unbalanced, so unfair.
The well-to-do tax payers, who have great houses along the lake, must share gorgeous views of streams of purple and golden rays, with the nameless vets who sleep on the park benches, as a new day begins.
We would go mad if we carried the weight of our neighbors' burdens. We can only strive to do the best we can, on my block, your block. Our block.