Monday, August 28, 2006

Once again, a sweat fest on the Gazelle. It's good, because I'm already feeling better. That is, even though I'm posting this at my usual early AM hour. When I sleep, I sleep a little better and fall asleep faster. It's a step toward regulating it. I still take melatonin, and tonight I'm aiding it with a watered down Amaretto on the rocks. I haven't had a late night Amaretto in a while, and it tastes so good.

Today, while at the coffee shop, a girl wanted to share my table. Of course, this was fine with me. Usually, it's because someone has a laptop they want to plug in, but she simply said, "I like being by the wall." Funny thing is, I totally got that. The reason why many people visit coffee shops is for a feeling it gives them. For her, that best feeling was attained by the brick wall. I liked that she felt both strongly enough about it and confident enough to ask. I was buried in my laptop, so what do I care? It's what community is about.

Another thought of community occured to me in my neighborhood. I was walking by a rowhouse on my street and saw some nice looking sunglasses sitting outside on someone's stoop. So, I rang the bell. Inside, a dog barked and I heard a woman shushing it as she came to the door. She looked out, saw me and opened the door. I introduced myself as her neighbor and told her why I'd rung. Turns out that the glasses weren't hers, she had left them there in case the original owner came back by looking for them. After stepping off her stoop, I had a striking thought that I was someone people felt safe opening the door to, and how lucky I was because of that. I think this particular neighbor would have opened her door to all walks of life, but many wouldn't. I know that I wouldn't, being in this city. However, all doors were open to me.

One night, while visiting the set of our show in a very very bad neighborhood, I saw some stray kittens on my way back. They were young enough to be "domesticated" from their feral state if caught, and eating a discarded chicken bone. I stopped, got out of my car against all better judgement, and tried to coax them to me. They were feral, and even though they were kittens had already learned not to trust the human race. They ran from me despite my slow approach and gentle speak. Behind me, a couple sitting on the stoop of their battered rowhouse watched me. A strange white woman who was moved enough to try to help two kittens in their blighted neighborhood surrounded by project housing. This was where people were shot, stabbed, beaten. Lines of blood had snaked down the street, shiny under the street lights. Most people have only seen areas like it on the news, but I was standing in the middle of it. Just a block away, the creator of the show had insisted on walking me to my car even with a smattering of production people around. Yet, here I was out of it.

The woman half of the couple said to me, "There are more of them. You should get them all." As they spoke, a gorgeous grey spotted cat slinked around them, wanting to be pet. I walked over to them and saw the woman who either didn't like cats or was allergic, shoo him away. I spoke to the little guy to distract him from bothering her, and he flopped himself on his side and purred on the sidewalk. My car still sat in the middle of the street, but no one was driving through this neighborhood at night so it didn't matter. I told them I was hoping to catch the kittens, take them to the vet and find them homes, but that they were too scared. We spoke a little bit. Chit chat, people whose lives were lightyears away but geographically only blocks. Again, I was deemed a safe person, but something in them sensed I knew they were safe as well. I was in their neighborhood. Not just racing through with doors locked. I stopped, we talked. So, for a moment we were reminded we were a community.

I drove away warmed by the experience and haven't spoken about it until now. I didn't want people telling me how stupid I was for stopping and getting out of my car. I wouldn't do it every day, sure. But that night, it wasn't in the cards to be dangerous. I sensed it wasn't. It was meant to be something else.

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