Thursday, April 02, 2009

there are greater dangers than strangers

i relish those rare moments when people forget to be strangers and temporarily trust each other like old friends. it happened twice today:

after dinner, i biked northeast to meet founder mark from georgia street community collective. although a miscommunication made my visit somewhat unexpected, he kindly introduced me to the main garden and half the neighborhood. i haven't felt that particular brand of hospitality since working in new orleans' holy cross neighborhood. as the night chill set in, mark and i stepped inside his house to talk about plans for the collective, how it got started, and how he views the neighborhood. we also managed to cover genealogy/family history, urban chickens, college football, green building, and mormon missionaries. two hours later, as i accepted a ride home and loaded my bike into his truck bed, i silently considered how often i rely on the kindness of strangers. unlike the tragic blanche dubois, however, it has served me well.

neighbor john, with whom i've exchanged hellos, spotted me in the parking garage and asked where i had been riding.
"northeast. near harper and van dyke."
"and you're just getting back?" he said, noting the darkness outside.
"well, i rode out there and a friend took me home."
"is that where you typically ride?"
"not really. i like to go exploring throughout the city." i gesticulated to illustrate my point. this led to brief, and mutually uninformed, reflections on the dequindre cut, then on to his grad school experience, my new job, and the mixed emotions we feel when a sweet venue gets "discovered." neighbor john then remembered he was a stranger who was heading out for the evening and disappeared into the elevator. as for me, i grinned my way home.

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