Hello neighbors. You are loved.

A fat white schmuck walks to the dumpster, on a gray morning as winter approaches. You wouldn't notice me if you saw me, but if you did you'd assume I'm grumpy.

Everyone assumes it. Grumpy is my default setting. From years of grumpiness, It's etched into my face even in a better mood.

Can't deny it this morning, though: There's a whole lot of stupid in the world, and I rarely rise above it, and today I'm not trying.

Can you read this?
On the sidewalk between the building and the trash bins, there are some ugly chalk marks. I've rarely seen the neighborhood kids, but in the summer months there are sometimes doodles on the sidewalk. Kid stuff — chalk arrows and stick-people, occasional words, or some 2000s variant of hopscotch.

There are a few words on the sidewalk, but they're upside-down to me. The trash is heavy and the bag is in danger of ripping, so I don't stop to read whatever's written, until I'm returning from the bins with my hands empty.

It's faded, like the words were drawn the day before the day before yesterday. It's been bleached by the sun, but squinting and cocking my head, I think it says, "HELLO NEIGHBORS YOU ARE LOVED."

And I roll my eyes. Is chalked encouragement supposed to be helpful, amidst COVID and economic ruin and climate change and Donald Trump and everything else that adds up to such a shitty 2020?

Well, it's not helpful, ya darn kids... Just a bunch of childish rot on my way back from the rubbish bin, but ... but I guess it doesn't hurt. Maybe it's kind of sweet, if it was chalked by some especially naïve 5-year-old.

It makes me crack a slight smile, and what d'ya know, I'm not as grumpy as a few minutes ago. I walk back to take a second look, and to take a picture. Maybe it'll make you smile a little, too.

Republished 4/9/2024   

1 comment:

  1. Random words of kindness outta the blue, unexpected, are like manna from heaven.

    - Zeke Krahlin


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