Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making the Rounds

Back in hot Houston this AM, set off early to do errands. I was a little surprised at the neighborly connections that transpired, but maybe it's an inside the Loop thing...or maybe not.

First, take the shirts to the laundry--nice visit with the people there, one of whom reads the LH column.

Then, right after ten, to the bookstore. Nice visit with their fiction buyer and the manager. A drop-dead gorgeous young man walks in and starts to browse. There are a number of browsers, but who notices them? The manager and I start to talk about the architecture section and we fall into conversation with the handsome young man who turns out to be a recent architecture graduate from Austin. Says ours is the best bookstore for architecture in the state. Lovely to hear, even if it doesn't sell well...We ask him for advice and get some, gently given with much prodding.

A woman with a bike helmet comes in, on her way to work (moped, not bicycle). Really nice, likes the same kind of fiction I do (what I call lowbrow literary). Nice bookish visit.

I buy several books and then head over to pick up lunch at the coffee shop near St. Luke's Methodist. Run into the husband of a friend and we talk for about an hour. Mostly medical, but nice to hear what he and his wife have been up to.

And so, home. What does this say about the anonymous city life? Could this happen in New York? (Yes, of course it could...I know that.) But it felt like a small town experience.


Leon Hale said...
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Texas Legacy Lady said...

It's really a small world. Almost every time we go into Houston from the country we see someone we know that we haven't seen in a long time. In addition, we see people from Sealy shopping or in restaurants.

And small towns are getting to where you don't know everyone like you used too. So many new folks are moving in that you just can't keep up. Blessings.

The Weaver of Grass said...

That is the sort of thing that happens whenever I go into our little market town - everyone knows everyone and it takes an age to buy a loaf of bread. I love it!

Bdogs said...

I love it, too. Who would have expected it in a city of around 4 million people?

Sydney said...

lol, you KNOW I'm going to chime in here don't you? It IS this exact way in New York and it's something I miss.

It's made up of little neighborhoods where everyone knows your name, and you know every dog you see walking by by name as well (there are dogs galore on the streets, none bark or snarl as they are used to it. I don't know how the little ones --dachunds and chihuahuas-manage to feel comfortable among the crazy foot traffic on any given sidewalk but they must be used to it).

Beacuse within a 4 block radius of any given apartment there is anything you need in daily life -- a grocery store, local newsstand, a neighborhood coffee shop, a video rental, dry cleaners, movie theater, etc...You find that every shop owner knows you by name and it makes for very pleasant errand running. And the feeling you are a regular. Your bartender, your diner, your magazine stand all know what you want when you walk in. Very pleasant. I know people think it's a big, bad, impersonal city, where people step over someone having a heart attack to catch a free cab, lol, but it just isn't.

Oh, and you also get to know your resident homless person and often you have a crazy, or very colorful/eccentric person who lives in some rent stabilized apartment from the 60's and that's a great thing too. It all makes for quite an interesting home life.

Since people are so many, and we see each other so often, total strangers strike up conversations while waiting for a light to change, and I have the best conversations with the taxi drivers. You care a great deal about your doormen, and they practically are Uncles to your kids or grand kids and keep doggie treats in their pockets etc...

Suffice to say, sounds like we all crave interaction and are warmed by simplicity of those little hello's and chats... it can make you just feel "right" where you are, can't it?