Tag Archives: Da Bronx

These Are the People In My Neighborhood: Crazy Phone Lady

Published / by Kim
This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series These Are the People In My Neighborhood

I cannot believe I haven’t posted about the Sopranos guys and the pay phone across the street, but when I was looking for a post about them so I could link it from this post, I couldn’t find one. That will be remedied at some point.

But this post isn’t about them. It’s about Crazy Phone Lady. It’s amazing how much blog fodder one can find by dint of having a pay phone across the street from one’s house.

Crazy Phone Lady is a relatively recent arrival to the cast of colorful characters around here. I guess it was about 2 months ago she started showing up. She arrives several times a week, usually between 1pm and 3pm, and only on weekdays, never on weekends. She carries several plastic grocery bags with her. I don’t think she’s homeless, because she looks well taken care of and not raggedy at all. My guess is she’s somewhere in her 60’s.

When she arrives at the pay phone, she sets her bags down on the ground and arranges them daintily around herself. She then pulls out a battered black leather phone book and starts flipping through it. When she finds what she’s looking for, she picks up the phone and makes her call.

“You get out of there!” she hisses into the telephone in a low, scary demon voice. “I don’t wanna see you anymore! Get out of there!”

She continues in this vein for several minutes, then hangs up the phone, gathers her bags, and walks away.

I have no idea who she’s calling or whether it’s the same person each time. For all I know, she doesn’t even know the person she’s berating. What I do know is that the cats find her utterly fascinating. When she arrives, they line up on the windowsill to stare at her with wide eyes, trying to figure out what’s up with her. I have to resist the urge to do the same.

Quiet, please!

Published / by Kim / 1 Comment on Quiet, please!

Noise is everywhere. around here. Moments of stillness are constantly interrupted. By people, by trucks, by cats, by helicopters, by planes. I can’t take it anymore, and I may snap soon.

Yesterday, I took a work break to spend some time spinning. It was peaceful when I started, and I found the quiet and spinning to be soothing. Not more than 10 minutes into it, a cement truck pulled up outside.It sat outside my house for nearly an hour, idling its very loud engine and running its mixer. Eventually, it simply drove away. It wasn’t even here because it was working nearby. The driver just decided to park here.

If I ever try to sleep in a little bit, the Old Man makes sure I don’t by mowing the lawn, working in the driveway, banging in the basement, or carrying on LOUD conversations with other old men right outside my bedroom window.

Today is one of the days that LGA air traffic is routed over my house, so any period of quiet is puncuated by low-flying planes overhead.

This morning, I opened the living room windows to take advantage of the cool morning breezes and quiet. Within minutes, a fleet of yellow school buses began pulling into the park, all of them loud. Several hours later, some of them are still idling. Above the rumble of their engines I hear a couple hundred screaming children.

Two garbage trucks just went by, taking their time. Stopping, clanging, men shouting.

An orange cat has taken to jumping into our open windows to taunt our herd. Several times a day, I’m startled by the sudden, bloodcurdling screams of our 3 boys yelling at Orange Guy to go away.

Moments when the birdsong managed to break through the cacophony are broken by loud Bronx chicks shrieking, “Ant’ny!!! ANT’NY!!!”

People come from seemingly all over New York City to fight at the tops of their lungs in our park.

I. Can’t. Take. It.

I am going to snap. I am.

I need to get away somewhere quiet. Even only for a day. For a few hours.

Fortunately, I have pottery class this afternoon. The pottery studio is deep in the building, where no outside noise penetrates. There will be nothing but soft voices and the whir of the wheels.

But still, I need to get away for a while. Soon.

Update: And now there is a man with a loud, screechy machine removing a stump from our lawn.

The Local Jackhammer

Published / by Kim / 1 Comment on The Local Jackhammer
The local jackhammer
The local jackhammer
Originally uploaded by kendiala.

This little guy shows up every spring and sticks around throughout the summer. He’s seen here on his favorite tree, which is on the corner right outside my kitchen window.

Last year, the Old Man came to ask Scott and me what we did in the morning that caused such a racket. We had no idea what he was talking about, because I’m not up till 9am and Scott is quiet as a mouse when he gets up at 7am. The Old Man said it sounded like a jackhammer every morning. We said, “You mean the woodpecker?” And we pointed him to all the woodchips at the base of this one particular tree.
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