Won't You be My Neighbor?

 A page from my journal.


I'm in McCarren Park. It's about 60 degrees, the sun is shining on me. I still wear a coat. People are out, Park People. Park People are a certain breed. There's a certain casual dress code in Williamsburg (trying to look like you're not trying). This is not the Upper East Side. This is Brooklyn.

A bride in full wedding regalia just went by as I wrote the above bit. Her husband was wearing some form of 70's sand colored tux. Brooklyn. Most people are in pairs or in a clique of friends. A few solitary hipster girls pass creepy loner boys. Brooklyn. I sit alone. Facing the sun. Pen to paper. Next to me, a tree 5 stories high.

A cute guy dismounts his bike. Lays it down on the patchy grass. Scrolls through his phone. A little girl throws a baseball. Her dad’s mitt catches it with a smile. It's that kind of Saturday. Wherever you turn you find a happy mitt.  Tomorrow, the Brooklyn Marathon will swing by this very park. The runners will come from far and wide to run throughout the streets of Brooklyn.  I rode 17 miles at home on my new stationary bike today; easier on the knees. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll ride a real bike.

Where else would I be if not sitting in a Brooklyn Park? Who else would I be with? What else would I be doing? In Brooklyn I write alone. In Brooklyn I ride solo.

When I look back at my life and think of the first 18 years, those painful school years, where I was forced to hop from one school to the next, I think of the friendships I was able to make when confined to classroom walls. Making friends now at 43 feels quite a bit different. No longer confined to walls I'm free to make new friends anywhere. I've had friendships come and go in adulthood. Transient friendships in a transient city.

The clouds just rolled in. The wind is picking up. It's still early Spring, jacket season. I’m getting chilly. Time to walk home, to my little space, in Brooklyn.


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