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Day 60 & 61: Stories

I see the strangest things on people’s porches sometimes. They really tell stories.

I was right around the corner from my old stomping grounds. The sun was bright. I didn’t need my sweater. My quarry was visible and well-marked. I parked my car on the East side of South 22nd street and got out.

I had to skirt a Bronco to get to the porch I needed. There was a chain-link fence, but no gate. (Bonus. Those can be a real pain to open.)

I went to step up the concrete stairs to the porch and checked myself. A third of the bottom step was crumbled and eroded away. The erosion wasn’t as bad further up. I know that because I jumped up and down on some wobbly parts, flailing my oblong pizza bag like a parasol. They didn’t break.

I’m just kidding. I totally did NOT do that.

Anyway, the porch was clear up to the door. I stepped in and knocked. I half expected the stairs behind me to crumble away in the chasm below them. They didn’t.

I saw a chair and a single-burner propane stand with lava rocks in it out of the corner of my eye.

A man came to the door. He had a full beard and long hair. He was balding in the front. I said hello and asked if he was the customer. He wasn’t. I told him the name.

“Oh, ok, I’ll go let him know,” he said.

I thanked him as he closed the door. Then I waited. I’ve had to wait a while, but this one took the cake. I waited a long time. I didn’t mind. The porch was just so interesting.

To my left was the box to the propane thing. At least, I thought it was. It was warped, water-damaged and closed. I didn’t see if there was anything in it. I compared the picture on the front to the actual burner sitting out. They looked different.

There was a can of Turtle Wax bug gut remover from the seventies in the window sill. A sad, filthy ash tray sat next to it. There was a quarter or something inside.

I mentioned this gas burner was propane powered. There was indeed a propane tank there, but it wasn’t hooked up. I didn’t quite get why there were lava rocks inside the can of the burner.

Behind the burner was a chair, rotted away and chewed at the edges. The filthy, worn cushions were intact, except at the edges. It also looked like someone had put out cigarettes in one of the arms.

Now, if that’s not strange enough for you, behind the chair and to the right - so resting up against the house - was a weed-whacker. It was the cleanest looking thing on that porch.

Surrounding, cradling and snuggling up to these notable items was a flurry of newspapers, garbage bags, assorted cardboard and a book or two. It looked like one of those Christmas villages. If they had one of those Christmas Village homes and named it, “The Almost-a-Hoarder House”, it the porch would look like this porch. Complete with pizza guy.

Several minutes had gone by. At this point I knocked again. A frustrated grunt came from inside. The person who I assume answered the door before hollered the name of my customer. My customer came out moments later, apologized and took care of his receipt. I handed him the food and was on my way.

We tell ourselves all kinds of stories about things bizarre and normal. That porch was bizarre.

I’ve seen – and smelled – stranger things than that.

But our porches tell our stories. Who we are. Where we’ve been. Where we’re goin’. That guy was going to fire up a sauna while cleaning off bug guts, smoking’ and doing yard work.

You might be wondering what my porch says about me. Well, it’s a story that involves a small table, a scooter, some chairs and paint chips. That story is, in a word:



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