For about a week now, I've been hearing some freakin' awesome music coming from outside my apartment.
Mostly iconic 90's rock, some Queen, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, and even the opening song of 'Grease' which put a smile on my face hearing it totally out of the blue. I thought to myself, 'oh my French neighbors changed their taste in music quite a bit... I like it now. huh. 'Guess Covid changes people even more than I thought...' but then I realized: the music was coming from a tent across the street from me. A tent that a homeless man set up a couple of weeks ago.
At first I have to admit, I was unnerved to see the tent and the man.
There is a growing number of homeless people in Los Angeles in general, and particularly in my neighborhood. And it is heartbreaking to see, and also stressful to live around, especially in times of a growing pandemic. But quickly, I started seeing the man in different times through my window, and I grew quite fond of what I saw: Every morning, the man opens his tent, and sets up a blanket, a folding camping chair, and some personal items. He does his thing, occasionally talks to people, and plays some AMAZING music. At night he puts all his belongings back in the tent and secures his bike nearby. He is neat, clean, and seems in good shape. If I would see him on his bike somewhere, with his sunglasses on and rather conventional clothing - I wouldn't think for a second that he is homeless. Occasionally, when I hear him talking to passers by, I get a hint of a mental illness of sort. I'm not sure what, but he has something, that's for sure. But I also pick up on his kindness and rather healthy way of living - considering he is living on the streets.
If you followed up on my previous posts regarding my neighbors growing up...it wouldn't be surprising to you to know that I'm not the most neighborly. Years of animosity from neighbors have scarred me, and I may have put up a bit of an invisible shield. I generally keep to myself and at best share a smile and a 'hi' with neighbors. But this neighbor struck a cord with me, and I plan to approach him and be, for the first time in my life, neighborly. And yes, he may not be living in my building, or own a home next door, or share my zip code on paper... but in a mere week he had been more of a neighbor to me than most.
Be kind to your neighbors...right?
I will keep you posted on my soon to be new friend.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman