Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cell phone or infant?

The other day I was coming back from a walk with Harley, crossing the parking lot and looking out across at the trees and the sky just starting to darken, and I noticed one of my neighbors in flannel pajamas and a tee-shirt out on his balcony.  He was cradling something along the length of his forearm, looking down at it and bouncing its head gently.  He trapsed softly back and forth in his bare feet. 

I've watched the Indian couple that lives across from me be pregnant for a long while now.  I'd suspect, just around nine months.  The man goes and returns quietly to work every day, slipping out very early in the morning, and returning some time in the evening.  Only once have I ever caught him checking his mail at the station that houses all of our slots for the building.  I said hello, he nodded.  Sometimes they have packages delivered at their doorstep from  Once I saw him and the woman, small-pregnant then, discussing laundry that had been loaded into the back of their car.  Their discussion was not in English, but the gesturing indicated the subject of debate.  There is a figurine of Krishna attached to the dashboard of their car, in the same spot where a small, swaying plastic hula girl might be for more secular folk.

Once, Harley and I confronted the, by that time, large-pregnant woman one night when I was headed out to walk Harley for her daily poop.  The woman was standing just outside her door, waiting for the man to come back up from the car.  I think they were having company, probably a baby shower or something akin.  There were several sets of shoes gathered at her feet outside the door.  I tried to call out to her that Harley is friendly, which is my way of saying that she won't bite, but either she didn't understand or didn't believe me (...and why should she?  Harley looks like she will take your head off, for sure.  My mama is afraid of stranger dogs, and she would be afraid of Harley if she didn't know her...) because she shrunk herself up against the doorframe as we passed.  Or perhaps there is some belief that a big, furry black dog passing by is a bad omen?  Like with black cats, only dogs.  I hope she doesn't feel like her or her then unborn child are cursed. 

In any case, she called out something down to the man at the car, I'm figuring whatever is Hindi for "Get your ass back up here, can't you see I'm being assaulted by this strange woman and her animal?"

I wish I had better interactions with my neighbors.

But it was nice watching my neighbor man rock his small infant, showing it the world, giving it a whiff of fresh world-air.  I've been wondering when or if the baby had arrived.  There was a certain energy coming from their place the last couple of weeks, but I wasn't sure.  When I saw him up on the balcony with the tiny little something, I felt happy, and relieved for them, that the baby was here, and safe, and clearly had the means to one day be happy.  When he turned for one pass back toward the east, I thought for a split second, No, wait, that's a cell phone he's looking at (because don't we also look at our cell phones as if they are miraculous infants?), but it really was a small child. 


Optimistic Existentialist said...

Great and insightful blog piece with some humor sprinkled in. I really love your blog and I'm glad I found it :)


Amber said...

Thank you very much!

B.R. said...

Nice piece. The one-sentence paragraph "I wish I had better interactions with my neighbors" was very funny, perfectly deployed. Also really really liked "whiff of fresh world-air" and "tiny little something."

I look forward to your collection of short stories and/or novel!