Saturday afternoon, as I was walking over to Scott’s apartment, so that he could finish restoring my computer back to it’s original state, I saw a woman scrubbing her stoop. She was wearing hot pink shorts and a tank top, had short blonde hair and lots of eye make. She was solidly in this time and place. And yet, watching her, I felt like I had stepped back into another era. She had two rags and doggedly scrubbed at the marble step as if her continued good health depended on it’s cleanliness.
I could imagine a woman wearing a mob cap, long black dress and white apron washing that block of stone in the exact same manner, sighing under her breath at the neverending work that this sooty city caused for her, and wishing herself back to the pristine fields of Ireland where she once lived.
In a motion that was both fluid and weighted down by the heat of the afternoon, she twisted the water from the rags, gave them a business-like shake and tossed the soapy water from the blue plastic bucket into the street. She gave me a glance from across the street, as I had unconsciously stopped walking, and then turned away. I shook myself out of my imagination and back into the present and went on my way.