A small boy in a yellow and black slicker steps out onto the cobblestones and turns to close the gate behind him. He's wearing third-hand green dinosaur boots with large cracks in the rubber on each side which effectively negate their purpose as rain boots as the water pours down.
Oblivious, he heads for each concave dip in the brick sidewalk and determinedly jumps in the exact center of each puddle as he makes his way down the street. He greets a neighbor and his dog Cowboy as they pass by across the street on their morning perambulation. He pats Andrew's dog Maya on the head when she stops to sniff him and solemnly shakes Mr. Ko's hand as he stands smoking outside the cleaners. "Hello Handsome!" shouts Ms. Osra from her perch behind the desk and "Dallas" sleeps in a chair by the door, safe from the rain for now. "My birthday is in fourteen sleeps" he replies, with a customary non sequiter.
Olivier doesn't notice us as he talks excitedly on his cell phone outside the door of the salon, but we wave nevertheless. Peter and his assistants look dubiously skyward as they try to decide which items will be situated outside his antiques shop today and he nods as we pass, intent on his work. A knock on the window to greet the "Cupcake Lady" as she picks up her breakfast at Wisey's and a high five to a store owner farther down the block while adeptly dodging the hug of another just next door. He stoops to examine something on the sidewalk and excitedly shouts "Lucky Day! " while picking up a dingy coin beside the parking meter. "Why did they make that big hole?" he asks, pointing to an ugly gash of a utility company project (and who can know?) "Buck, buck, buck" the pigeons intone.
The Metro bus speeds by spraying us with dirty water in its wake. A wave to Audrey's Daddy on his way back from dropping her off at St. John's (we must be running late) and Luca's Mom hunched in the rain pushing his baby brother in a stroller under a plastic cover hurriedly down the street. As if visiting an old friend he growls amiably at the hapless alligator on display in a shoe store window. A car slows at O Street and the window rolls down revealing a child on his way to school in another neighborhood nearby. "'Bye Liam!" the voice trails off as the light turns green and the car drives out of sight. We cross the street with Owen's Mom who has already dropped him off at Hyde and the boy sticks his head around the door into his friend Samir's store to shout a greeting although he knows the shop owner's son is not there. We plug our ears with our fingers as an ambulance and a fire truck screech by.
At the corner of Wisconsin he takes a deep whiff of the bacon cooking at Five Guys and receives a double cheek kiss from a friend waiting to extract cash from the ATM before making a wide berth around a wild-looking man shouting at another man who is intently ignoring him while conducting his bank business. "Why is he so mad?" he idly wonders aloud and then stops as if for the very first time to exclaim over the Spiderman keys in the Shoe Repair shop's window. His breath fogs up the glass as he peers in. He notes with interest Poppy's Dad bringing in the trash cans, her tricycle parked outside their door and another friend disappearing down the street. "Aaaan-nnie!" we shout, but she is already too far away with her dog Zoo in tow, so we turn up the stairs and fall in step with Miss Mimi hurrying back from moving her car.
The big church doors clank behind him and he's reached his destination.
It took less than ten minutes, but it has already been a day in and of itself.