Dear Journal: Porch Sitting

porch sittingDear Journal,

I’ve never been the kind of person who sits out on the porch, nodding to people as they pass, just sprawled out in my uncomfortable wicker chair pretending to be comfortable. Or the guy who does in fact get comfortable out there as the sun rises high in the distant sky and falls asleep with his mouth wide open, “catching flies.” I’ve never even been the man who sits out there yelling at kids to “get off my lawn!”

Maybe it’s because when I was growing up the porch was simply a slab of concrete with bricks evenly spaced around it, and it was only three sides because where the fourth would have been was instead the rowhome next door that shared a wall with us. In fact, we could look sideways from on our porch and see the next seven porches in a row. If not for low walls in between each one we could have run like the wind from one end of the porches clear down to the opposite end.

Now we have a front porch and a back porch, with the former being smaller than the cement slab from ages ago, and the latter being three times its size, and enclosed. Neither one is convenient for porch sitting, however. While the front faces the street, and therefore I could yell at the neighborhood kids from its confines, it’s too small to comfortably put a chair out there. And while the back is roomy and has lots of space for chairs (even a loveseat at one point), it faces the backyard, and therefore has absolutely no view that I would want to sit back there and contemplate.

But I have neighbors who porch sit quite regularly. Perhaps they’re the gossips on the block because they always seem to be out there… listening to everyone as they go past, and engaging in conversation with the ones who grace them by stopping. They don’t seem to do anything besides porch sit, in my opinion, because whenever I pass there they are. Sitting. Even in the winter. Sure, they have coats on, but they have their mugs of hot chocolate on the little table between them, and they’re still out there.

Maybe at some point that will be me, but I don’t see it happening in the foreseeable future. There are too many interesting things to do and see inside without observing and being observed by the whole neighborhood. I mean, what would I wear? Perhaps when we build the new house the porch will be inviting. Or maybe we won’t even have one. That might work too.

Sam

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