May 16, 2008

Since I work from home, twice a day I like to sit outside in my backyard and take in the day.  I don’t drink coffee so this is my version of a break.  Our backyard is enclosed with a tree-lined fence, and the only part of the outside world you can see is the block of space where the trashcans are.  This is where I sit because there’s a stoop that’s comfortable for sitting about 15 minutes.  We live in a residential block in Los Angeles where not too many people walk, and yet every time I go to sit outside, someone walks by the space.  I’ve come to look at these people like the background people in the video games my husband plays on our television.  They’re from all different walks of life, kids to grandparents and it’s the united colors of Clinton Street from what I can see.  People always walk buy with their heads either down or straight ahead.  A lot of people are on the phone.  They’re not there long enough to hear what the conversation is about though.


            The thing I love most about sitting on my stoop is that because there’s 10-foot tall white fence with ivy growing around it, no one can see me when they walk by unless they really take a second to look.  In the year and a half I’ve lived here, no one has become the wiser.  I’m like this secret neighborhood watch lady for fifteen minutes at a time.  I will call the police if you don’t curb your dog.  I won’t say anything to you directly though.  I’m too afraid.  


            Other than the people who walk their dogs though and the ones who pick their kids up from the school around the corner at 3:30, I can’t fathom who these other people are and where they’re walking. 


            Case in point: I called this one guy “Angry Guy.”  Angry Guy would walk by our house at approximately 10am every morning screaming obscenities to no one.  I figured he had Tourettes, but my husband just thought he was crazy. I once saw Angry Guy at our local supermarket and I elbowed my husband as if I was seeing some big time celebrity.


            “It’s Angry Guy in aisle 4!  He’s pulling a frozen pizza from the freezer!” I whispered excitedly.


            Then one night at around 10:30, I was watching Grey’s Anatomy in the living room and my husband was doing dishes in the kitchen (I know, I have a really good life).  All of a sudden I heard a really loud thrashing sound outside, but Grey’s was getting good so I let it go.  My husband let out a huge, “What the fuck!” scream.  That’s when I paused Grey’s.  He ran outside to the backyard and saw that someone had just kicked in the corner of our tall white fence by the trashcans.  He had to run back into the house and grab the key to the gate so he could get out of the yard and chase the guy, but by the time he got out to the street, the guy was long gone.


            “It was Angry Guy, I know it was!”  My husband yelled at me as if it was my fault.  “Call 911!”


            When the police came, I gave a full description of Angy Guy: “Age 30-35, approximately 5’10, Caucasian, thinning dirty blond hair most likely wearing a tan  microsuede jacket with zippered closure, dark polo shirt, relaxed fit five pocket jeans and grey cross training New Balance 768 running shoes with blue stripes.  In the day he wears black polarized sunglasses.  Oh, and he’s always screaming obscenities unless he’s at the supermarket.”


            “You spend too much time sitting outside,” my husband said.


            The police said they’d look for him and I’m pretty sure they got him (no doubt due to my excellent description).  I haven’t seen Angry Guy since and this was about five months ago.  I have to say that the cinematic view of the world from the fence in my backyard has suffered a bit as a result.


            We got the fence fixed in case you were wondering.  


The Adena Halpern Blog
May 6, 2008

Here are some things you should know about me.

Here are the things I love:

My husband Jonathan

My mother Arlene

My father Barry

My girlfriends

writing when it’s easy (and okay, even when it’s not)

6 inch heels from XTC on Melrose

Lancome cosmetics


Here are some things I don’t like:

the price of gas

my Land Rover

my height

people who ring my doorbell at any given time of the day

nervous laughter