• Glenn Wilson
    91
    Dr. David: My Mexican neighbor speaks perfect English and a little Yiddish, having worked in a kosher deli in LA for almost ten years. Two weeks ago, as I was descending from my daily yoga session on the upper roof, in the company of two other men, he called up to me, asking me in English if I wanted the house painted. Knowing that my landlady had no money for this sort of thing and that I wasn't going to pay, I declined, "No. No." "They will do it for free. The government will pay," he coaxed. "Yes. Yes," changing my tune, I blurted out and went to fetch La SeƱora. The color chart, homemade on a piece of brown cardboard box, all the official San Miguel tones, we settled on a light yellow.

    Yesterday, when I went out to the market I noticed that the painting crew was finishing painting the side of the tortilleria on the corner. The foreman, the man who arrived with the color chart two weeks ago, gave me a smile in greeting when I passed. As I did one of his laborers, a somewhat fat young man was down on his knees painting the lower half of the tortilleria's side wall. Returning a short while later he gave me a second, bigger smile and nod of approval when I stopped to lecture the fat kid about ruining his knees by kneeling directly on the stones, "You're young now and you are not thinking about it, but it will happen. You should use a piece of cardboard."

    Moments ago, sitting here wondering what I would write about this week, the answer came to me in the sound of various extention ladders being drawn open and set into place in the alley right outside my door. The crew is working on the three houses across the way, in one of which lives my Yiddish-speaking neighbor with his mother, in another lives his brother with wife and daughters. Perhaps this afternoon they will paint the facade of our house. I could have asked the foreman when I went to back my car up out of range of any spatter, but I'm in no hurry to know the future. ...

    Continue reading at Lokkal: Cleaning Up the Neighborhood: 1, 2, 3. More #Lokkal.

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