I read a long blog post from someone talking about growing up in a smallish town in Florida. I grew up in Florida, so on that small basis I identified. There is a mystery in every river, and intrigue about the neighborhood or community that is just too far away to get to comfortably. 9 minutes too far, the steep hills making the bike ride too treacherous.
Separations between people and places that seemed insurmountable as a child are negligible to the grown adult. There were separations in my neighborhood. Some were invisible but present. The neighborhood was built in stages, over I don’t know how many years but probably more than a decade before it was fully built out. It was a model home community so all houses looked like one of 5 or 6 models. Ours was the 2-story model, which ended up located right across the street from another house of the exact same style.
I don’t know if model home communities were a fad or if they are still common but it seemed to have been presented to us as a good thing, albeit for reasons I can’t summon at present. To me the separations were the invisible lines between the chunks of the development, the chunks that were built first, second, third, fourth, and maybe there were as many as 5 or 6 waves of development. Another dividing line was Ola, a long street I forget now if it was Ola Street, Drive, Avenue, or whatever, but it was a piece of road that rose a foot or two higher than most roads, and was blamed for causing flooding in the mobile home park found alongside the road.
Ola was the only piece of road in our model home community that did not conform to the all-American theme of other street names, such as Capital, Diplomat, Justice, Sovereign, etc. Ola was a street that continued from another neighborhood so I guess you’d say it got grandfathered in by not having to be named something with American military or diplomatic associations.
I don’t think I can remember many of the street names now but one that stood out was Tish Court. I don’t think anyone ever determined what “Tish” meant in terms of American diplomacy. I think I found a Judge Tish somewhere but he didn’t seem notable enough to have a cul-de-sac named in his honor. But the streets were clever. Capital, Sovereign, Justice, Ambassador…. damn, I have to cheat and look this up on a map. Aha, some other streets included Constitution and Envoy Lane.
I have not been back in a few years but the neighborhood has held up well over the years. Bad things happen but most of the surrounding environments of porn stores and what they called “Suitcase City” never made its way into this area.
Nearby Nebraska Avenue was and as far as I know still is a place where all kinds of debauchery takes place. I may be fogging the memory bank but I associate that stretch of Nebraska Avenue with porn stores and hourly-rate motels.
It may have been Nebraska Avenue where my father and I attended a live auction every week. I remember precious little about those auctions and that is unfortunate since what I do recall is a very colorful and diverse crowd of people coming out to buy random shit like car parts, old radios, and bales full of old clothes. That may have been the first place I saw a $100 bill.
I was in a car once that was stopped by police on Nebraska Avenue. We weren’t doing anything wrong or stupid. We were simply on Nebraska Avenue at night, and that was enough to raise suspicions. I think the driver may have failed to use a turn signal or something minor like that but they searched the fuck out of that car, finding no contraband or evidence of any transgressions against the sacred halls of Nebraska Avenue.
The mysteries of Nebraska Avenue to me involved what went on in all those cheap motel rooms. Big deals brokered. Bullshit plans for robberies and holdups that failed for lack of commitment. Sex between consenting adults. People sitting on couches, waiting for drugs to take effect, waiting for a phone to ring, waiting for the radio to deliver communications from a swift dimension. I think of these mysteries today, when I’m on a bus rolling through a new-to-me area like Cambria Heights or St. Albans. All these individual houses, home to a family, a loner, a recluse, or home to a dozen squatters. Every house a container of mystery and opaque revelation.
I dreamed about an ex last night. It was not actually her, but an approximate likeness. Unlike the real woman this person was happy, and OK with her position in life. She’d become a bartender and rarely wore more than a shirt around town and while on the job. The Barefoot Bartender whose shirt sometimes blew up to reveal her crotch and butt in full quickly became the neighborhood sensation, making Astoria magnificent.
This woman, with only superficial physical resemblances to my real ex, reeled me into her bed like we never parted ways, as if there had never been a decisive day when everything between us ended forever. Sex with this version of the ex was magnificent. Smooth, sweet, all our favorite positions revisited.
So many mysteries among us. The woman I sit next to almost every day who never says a word or indicates any interest in communicating with anyone outside the duties of her job. Another woman I communicate with annually. What is her interest in me? I don’t get it. She says flattering things about my intellect but then throws accusatory sentiments around when I refer to women I’ve known and “been with.” The mysteries inside each and every head, incalculably complex until uttered and expressed in common words, then instantly banal and trite.