Back Story: My middle-aged man house, aka The Ranch, I bought as a 40th birthday present for myself. (I asked for a house for my 39th birthday but nobody stepped up). The Ranch is on a main street in Tacony that is a hybrid, part residental, part commercial. I would have preferred a house on a side street, but I liked this one a lot, and so went for it. My side of the block is all residential, the other side mostly all commercial. My neighborhood was historically very white, but lately has become somewhat integrated.
The Actual Story: I have been trying to leave a trash can out front for people to use rather than toss their trash in my garden. Most grasp the concept. Except when the wind blows it over, it has been mostly successful. Today I am walking home, towards my front gate, when I see a middle-aged black woman I don't recognize throwing a bunch of trash into the can. I think, "Cool, that's what it's there for". I then notice she's muttering to herself.
Since she is muttering to herself, I look back at her. She has finished at the trashcan and continues southward a few paces. She stoops down at my next door neighbor's sidewalk and picks up a bunch of trash, continuing to mutter to herself. Rather than backtrack a few steps to my trashcan, she continues southward carrying the trash. The neighbor on the corner has a can out front too, so she didn't have too far to the next can. He keeps his locked to a stop sign. (Now I could put a stop sign in front of my house, in the middle of the block, but I think that would create all sorts of problems. I'll need to figure out a different solution).
The Mystery So is this woman a civic minded do-gooder who enjoyes cleaning up the Avenue and making the neighborhood a better place to live? There's a precident. There's an old woman in Frankford that Joan and met I when we did the Mozaic tile mosaic project. After watching this woman sweep up Frankford Ave. every morning, we eventutally talked to her. Well Joan spoke to her, but I was there. She seemed sane. The woman that is, and well, Joan too.
Or does this woman suffer from some mental illness in which the side effect is a compulsion to clean the sidewalk?
Either way, it's a good deal for Tacony. But I am curious.