Thursday, May 26, 2016

You Can't Make This Sh*#$&)T Up

Ruth is 92.  She knew Florence.

Ruth would organize buses for like 150 people from the Henry Street Settlement to go to Jones Beach and once she got everyone settled, she and Florence would lounge by the ocean and talk about anything and everything.

And Laurel's family and my family grew up next to each other on Henry Street and when I want to know anything about them, then or there, I ask her.

She's neighbors with Ruth.

So the other day Ruth had to get her hair cut and I wanted her to talk to these documentary people and Laurel wanted to catch up.

We TRIED to keep up with Ruth but the second we turned away, Ruth was gone and we went up and down Madison Street, going into every hair salon and using every word we knew in Spanish.  By the third place we were asking in almost full sentences. 

Didn't matter.  Nobody had seen her.

So we went back to the benches to catch up.

And while we were there, I took this picture because I couldn't get a picture of the rat that was HOPPING across the grass because it was HOPPING too fast.

Those are the Seward Park Houses.  George had been part of the team that had made them happen.  Lots of my friends grew up there.  Laurel still lived there. 

Did I mention the rat was HOPPING?  With a huge piece of something red in its mouth.

You'd take a picture of the sky too.

Here's the thing about sitting on the bench.  Eventually, everyone stops to talk to you. 


Including this couple.

AND RUTH.  who had gotten her hair cut in a salon by the bridge on Madison which is why we didn't find her - she just went further than us. 

Let's face it.  Ruth goes further than all of us.   But she was tired and she didn't want to go to any documentary film thing but she'd sit on the bench and if they called, then she'd go....

And everybody started talking, and in the tradition of the Lower East Side, talking all at the same time:

so-and-so and the heart attack on Essex Street
they had been together 40 years
two men a real marriage, a good one
he's now in a can in the living room....

Are you getting the His-and-Her's shopping carts? Laurel whispers to me. Are you writing this all down?

Forget it! You could get sued for writing this shit down.  You gotta hide it in a story and call it fiction.

....what? who's gonna ask if he was Jewish or not? 
They asked? 
They asked, he didn't lie and now he...
how was the broccoli today
how much for the cut? 
Only $14 but I think he wants me to come back
usually she's open 
it's prom season 
I paid $18 it adds up with the tint
the shopping cart is from Amazon?
but look it goes this-way-that-way
he's coming in from New Jersey you think that pumpkin pie is going to cut itself....

Just as everyone agreed that the shopping cart was fine even if the front wheels did go this-way-that-way and wild salmon in a can was delicious with a little vinegar and onion.... Ruth finally said, look are they going to interview me for that documentary or what...

....and that's when they called to say come on by we're ready for you. 

And Ruth told them a story about her life and our neighborhood.

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