A husky man with a little dog walks past my back porch every night at 7:15pm. Sometimes he is reading a book, other times he is playing a hand-held video game which I know is not called a Gameboy, but I want to call a Gameboy because I was born in 1980. Usually he is wearing a T-shirt, flip-flops and baggy gym shorts. Regardless of his outfit, every night at 7:15pm I burst into uncontrollable giggles, because it is very odd to have a strange man who is oblivious to my existence appear within 3 feet of me and then disappear as quickly as he came. I almost expect him to stroll through the sliding glass door, look up in a confused manner and mumble, “How’d I end up in this lady’s living room?” Then the cats would attack.
My new apartment has a back porch which faces the back of another row of apartments in the complex, divided by a stretch of grass which probably has a proper name defined in dictionaries, but I don’t know it. This means I basically have a back yard now, a back yard that people traipse through as they please, usually with their dogs or baseball bats or Gameboys. I grew up in houses with yards and I remember school kids taking shortcuts past our statuary and I remember being a kid cutting through strangers’ flower beds, but this was all many years ago. It is odd to have a yard again and to have people pop up and pop out of my line of sight suddenly, but it is just one new thing I’ll have to adjust to, just as I am learning all the new sounds of the apartment, like the crunch of the ice maker and the dripping of the air conditioner and the thumps of our upstairs neighbors who sound like they are practicing for the International Clogging Championships.