Curb cuts, dad and pickups

Dear J—

They finished the curb cuts in our neighborhood yesterday, apparently. I didn’t notice them in the afternoon when I rode by but this morning the pylons were gone and some raw-looking concrete and asphalt now lie atop the dirt and gravel that were there before. Our neighborhood has those kind of curbs that must have started in the seventies, with sloping curbs blended into the street, not at all like the older square-edged curbs you’d expect in a setting that dates back to the forties and fifties. Curb cuts are a sign of progress, allowing wheelchairs to traverse the sidewalks less hazardously, but really, in order to do that we’d have to get rid of a car or two; all the families on the block would have to, in fact.

When did we decide we needed multiple cars in a single family, though? I guess we had two and later three when I was growing up so I’m not one to cast stones but at least we were able to get them all up off the streets. I talk to my dad on the phone and I realize that when my parents call it’s been mostly my mom who’s been talking lately. It hurts me to think that his hesitation on what to talk about might have to do with the aging process, or that he just doesn’t have much to talk about though we’re family. I’ll make an effort to describe better what our days are like and perhaps that will help but it’s hard to see; I remember him as being gregarious and generous with his time with friends, socializing and insisting that since man is a social animal, I should be friendlier.

I’m beginning to understand my mom’s frustration with the situation now and why they’re digging their heels in on relocation: to have to start over is hard enough but now there’s the extra pressure/handicap of having to deal with being socially behind now too. I’d always considered how hard it would be for the kids to move (hint: when they were that young, it wasn’t if we did it today I’m sure it would be harder, though figgy tells me that we might have to eventually, right, dad? I love picking them up in the afternoons, which I thought I’d hate as a chore, but it’s amazing to see that moment of pure, unalloyed joy when you show up as the first family face. I need to get my parents here too.


P.S. I’ve talked about inheriting my mom’s heart when I talked about how stubborn we are and how our blood seems to hold on to cholesterol like some sort of fatty lipid life preserver but I hope I’ve also inherited her generous heart on this as well.


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