Sunday, August 22, 2004

White couple --- Sunday (I)

Sometimes the day is just filled with stories. This was such a day.
It started out with a trip to my cousin's place in an out-of the way neighborhood. He and his wife moved there about a year ago. It's the first time I'm getting there by subway. I usually drive. The plan is to have brunch and then make our way to the baseball stadium in Baltimore. All sounds perfect except that I realize once on route that I have forgotten my notebook with their address in it. There is no time to come back home but I figure that I will find their house pretty easily as I should remember it from my previous visits.
The thing is: I don't.
Once there all the houses look similar and I am going back and forth on the block trying to jostle my memory. "I can't remember that window", "There was no turf on the stairs", "Their porch does not have any statue". It's hopeless and I figure that I should just ask on the street. Maybe they'll recognize the names.
I knock on one door. An old black woman comes slowly. She is walking with a cane and is wearing what looks like a night gown from a shiny fabric. "I am looking for the house of Curt and Jody E.?" I ask. I'm describing them as a white young couple.
The woman looks at me puzzled "There are no whites living in this street. At least none that I know of." She turns back to her living room. There are newspapers on the floor. I hear the TV.
I thank her and call another woman that I spot walking toward her car with two teenagers (her sons?). Same question. This time I mention race in the first sentence "I am looking for the house of a young white couple. Do you know where they live?" No hesitation. She points to a white door. I thank her and get there, look though the window door and realize that this isn't it: all is modern, posh, very urban. Definitely not there. I go back to the woman and tell her than I don't recognize the place. "Does the man drive a motorcycle?" she asks. "Not that I know". "So it's not him" she says, "this one is always on a bike". She leaves. I have to try again. From the first house on the street, I am knocking on every door. I learn that there are only two white couples on the block. I know that they have cats, that one of the guys drives a motorcycle, that one couple moved in really recently, that the other has been working on their house a lot. The house with the white door or the one with the green turf on the porch. Neither of them is that of my cousin. It's funny to be told bits and pieces of the lives of perfect strangers. Still no trace of my cousin's house. I am at a total loss until one man comes out with a phone book. I look up the address. It was the other block. My cousin is reading the paper outside, enjoying the warm weather on his porch.


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