Thursday, September 5, 2013

Rosh Ha Shana 5774


It's Rosh Ha Shana. The Jewish New Year.

It's late. I've been gone all day. On the steps, Keith is there with Joe. After all our emotional conversations, after all the struggle to start out in a new direction, after all the promises...back on the steps. Keith, what's up? I don't understand. 
He shrugs his shoulders, wags his head, Ah, I got fed up. (Referring to whee he was staying.) Couldn't take it any more.
The steps, you shouldn't be here, you need to be somewhere. What about your daughter?
Ah, that's complicated. 
So I shrug my shoulders.

Walk around the side on 86th Street. And there's Sean. At least he's got his electric cart back. And another shitload of clothes. He asks me to take two big bags inside for him. OK, I'll do that, but you can't be here all day...

I know that man, I know that. but you got to talk to those people. I can't be in no place with no 8 people. I'll lose it .I'll assault someone. can't do it. You got to talk to those people. They shoulda had me a place soon as I come back from getting my feet cut off. Shoulda had me a place. Can't be taking my cart to no shelter. Look, sometimes I just want to give up. Wheel my self into the middle of the street and just sit there and wait to see what happen. Can't take it no more. 
So I agree to take his stuff inside for the night.
What time can I get my stuff tomorrow?
Try around 10, I say.

Some people call this the Yupper West Side now. For all intents and purposes the old red neighborhood is nearly completely gentrified. The sidewalks sometimes gridlocked with SUV baby strollers. Some home owner reds and octogenarian activists in rent controlled apartments still around. And there's the young adult meeting/mating grounds between 78th and 86th. But for the most part, it's quiet, respectable. Sometimes I get complaints and want to say, if you want to live in Westchester, live in  Westchester.

Still, there's a whole world that goes unnoticed. The world of the public housing projects, the homeless, the dope dealers, the SRO's, the poor eldery, the crazies...they're all here. I suppose if you pretend that you don't see them, they become invisible, don't exist. And you don't see them.

The streets are filled with people walking home from their after shul New Year's dinners. Whole families walking home. It's a time for new beginnings. To eat apples and honey and challah and wish for, hope for a sweet year. Rosh Ha Shana. L'shana tovah, my friends, l'shana tovah...

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