Thursday, September 16, 2010


I was out walking and just got caught in a torrential thunderstorm downpour. I wanted to take a walk and check out a store on Liberty Avenue, so I decided to make that my destination.

It looked like it would rain, but I don't mind. I like walking in the rain. And indeed it starts raining and I am digging it. Suddenly though it becomes EXTREME...thunder lightning. I am still walking in it, feeling exhilarated even, but then it worsens more. Raindrops are bouncing at least a foot back into the air off the street and sidewalks, and the wind is picking up.

I end up ducking into a doorway with this little Puerto Rican woman. It is really barely any shelter. She is holding a jacket over her head and holding a blanket. She says " I have this blanket you can use if you want". So I take the blanket and hold it over the two of us as we huddle together.

It didn't feel at all uncomfortable and we got into conversation. First as expected saying how crazy the rain is. I told her I didn't mind it but this was a little too extreme to walk around in. Plus I needed windshield wipers for my glasses.
She starts unloading and telling me things. How she is supposed to be meeting her husband. Do laundry. How her son is home alone probably freaking...(and then he calls her)..And how she is preparing to move. (I continues to cover us as best I can)

She mentions she has asthma.
Well that doesn't help I say

She is stressed about the move and starts telling me all the things she needs to do. I ask her some questions. I ask where she is moving to, but I don't think I ever got an answer.
She says how she has to get out of the neighborhood, and has been here 20 years.

She is moving this Saturday and gives me a litany of all she needs to do. Go to DMV just met with the movers, packing and I don't know, alot more. She is stressed about money...and I tell her it's so hard..everyone is, but I think you got a good price with the movers even though it will still be hard. "And I just put bengay on my back from all the packing" she says (emphazing it with her long decorated fingernails)

She describes some details of the move...She has mixed feelings...but when she went into some details such as the finances ( the rent is far less) and the fact that her son's school will be on the same block, it all sounds good and I tell her so
You are doing great it sounds like a very good move

She returns to saying that she has to get out of the neighborhood and starts complaining about the makeup of the area. And the truth is Liberty Avenue has become very seedy whoever is doing it. So then she asks me what is my country.

"What is your country?

"What is your country
(I still don't understand)

I finally understand.... she is asking me where I am from.
I was born here

And I tell her that I live on Atlantic Avenue and am gonna walk back there.

I think she is a bit incredulous...She gives me a look as though I am this weird eccentric white woman. But I do believe it was a serendipitous meeting. She certainly needed someone to talk to, and I love meeting people in that way. We gave eachother shelter from the storm.

At one point she says " I think we should sing...'rain rain go away..."
and I go - OK
So we start singing "rain rain go away come again another day.."

The rain let's up just a little and I turn to her and say...
I think I am ready to go out there now

I hand the blanket back and start to walk away. She follows me a bit (almost like midnight cowboy) and says she is gonna run to the next doorway. I put my hand on her shoulder and squeeze it. I tell her that is was nice to meet her and wish her good luck with the move.

I just love these unexpected moments and chance encounters.

(So then as a followup, I get home soaked. and my daughter tells me "oh yeah there has been a tornado watch going on")