Here I sit in a lawn chair, on a second story balcony, eating my honey mustard chicken sandwich.
theres a constant buzz overhead, single prop airplanes that take off from the nearby flight tour airstrip every 10 minutes or so--wait make that 5 minutes or less. I try to tune it out because I'm listening to toddlers traumatizing each other in the adjacent yard, at the Daycare. It's kinda strange, until now I didn't realize the great trust that the proprietors of that daycare put in the modern marvel that is the chain link fence. I can count on one hand - even one finger - the number of times that I've seen these kids under adult supervision. But theres plenty to keep young minds occupied. several bicycles, and an overabundance of molded plastic play things all puzzle-pieced into the yard - 5 slides, 4 playhouses, a picnic table, a jungle gym, a plethora of Flintstones-style, red and yellow cars, and a woody wagon version too!
Now that I take a closer look, the yard is a self-contained community. A squad car version of those previously mentioned cars is parked behind a playhouse, and in keeping with Alaskan values it remains the least utilized vehicle in this little 'hood. We have an array of tires, some brightly painted and set in cement to hold them upright... sort of a vague representation of the overpasses in the greater Anchorage area, this is for these young ones to learn how to spot a good place to "dig in" and hide. theres a taxi-cab service, consisting of a tricycle with an elongated back seat for passengers, the absence of a bulkhead goes to show that the tykes are still fairly innocent at this poin-- wait, we have just had an official car jacking, the green and brown Woody Wagon has just been commandeered by an Athabaskan boy with a red and yellow Hawaiian shirt.
but out comes the caretaker (two times now, that I've seen her.) bearing licorice, lets see what happens...
Hmm... No stabbings this time around, There seems to be general contentment when theres a handout. soon enough it will be back to the loud ruckus of banshee rule - hair-pulling, fit-throwing, some in alliance, some alone. but they are all plugging away at their mundane, redundant lifestyle. Then again, they are kids, and these behaviors are expected. all under the watchful eyes of the chain-link fence. Here come two parents, they are met at the door by the caretaker. they all stand back and watch the little people interactions play out in front of them. As one father watched his child wreck a car he mused that his insurance was going to be through the roof and asked his son about the mortgage on the playhouse not getting paid.
4:45PM. for 3 of these little people it's time to go home. there goes the caretaker... back to business.
My next door neighbor takes a break, he has a lawn chair to sit in, too. we share our balcony. I'm not even sure that he's been doing anything, but he can't smoke inside, so I guess his lungs just got off of a break, and his mind is about to clock out. He smokes weed all day. Come on, He's a DJ, that's what he does. I don't know if pot is really a relaxant, he seems to have to exert himself to talk. like the British, speaking seems to be an ordeal. meticulously -painstakingly- forming his words. he's on the phone with someone.
He kicks back and takes a drag. He exhales it with a satisfactory cough and slurps some fresh Alaskan air before continuing his conversation.
"some nigger broke into the house a couple days ago and made off with the tables, I'm real lucky because I took the needles off the night before to change 'em. they're $90 a piece!"
In the 3 months I've been here I hadn't taken the opportunity to get to know him, so yesterday I talked to him briefly, he started to tell me how he and his girl came out here last year in an '84 Saab hatchback, but I had to cut him off,it went something like "...we were thinkin' 'Wow the last frontier--" "hey, sorry I gotta flip my grilled cheese sandwich..." "yeah, man, you do your thing!" I got my grilled cheese sandwich and a bottle of water, but when I returned he had already finished his joint and headed back indoors. but I will say this, that sandwich was one of the most perfectly toasted, melty-cheesy, complete-with-chicken-patty-y sandwiches I've ever made.
till next time...