Fishy Fishtown

We looked at three more houses yesterday at lunch. Okay, but first I have to explain the bus ride over there--the Number 3 down Cecil Ave. to the blue line elevated Berks stop. Not a very eventful trip until 4th street when a pack of loud white people got on. A mother and daughter team sat across from me, both toothless though the daughter probably wasn't older than forty. The daughter said, I don't got no money for the fare. Her mom said, I don't neither. She went up to the front of the bus and poured a bunch of change in the till. The bus driver didn't say anything, suggesting that this happens a lot and that some money is better than none. In the seat above them was another toothless man in a baseball cap with a Camel cigarette tucked behind his ear, a droopy moustache, and a prison tattoo in the webbing by his thumb. He was being talked at by a woman he seemed to have met at the bus stop, an older lady with tri colored hair and a nose piercing who was saying something about how beer is bottled. There I sat in my perky, button-up designer (though purchased at a consignment shop) raincoat and brown suede boots, my image personifying the Sesame Street challenge, Which one of these things does not belong? We passed crumbling buildings, falling down wire fences, garbage heaps, and homes with boarded up windows or burnt roofs. Urban blight--I'd ask why no one does anything about it, but the answer is clear: poor people don't matter in America. I just didn't realize how bad it is. When I got off the bus, I had to walk across a large abandoned lot littered with trash and cigarette butts. I felt incredibly conspicuous. I was already imagining how sorry Shawn would feel after he learned I'd been gang-raped by a pack of fifteen year olds b/c he told me to take the bus to this location. Obviously, I made it. Later, Dominic told us that his wife doesn't even like to be there in the daytime and would never walk in that area at night. Kali said that in her neighborhood (sort of near Port Richmond) there are free-range dogs---outdoor dogs who ostensively belong to someone but who roam the streets all day. Are we in Cambodia?

Okay, so the first house we looked at was on Wilt Street--a cute two story home with an ornate fireplace (non working) and ugly carpeting downstairs. I don't remember much more about it, except that it had a small back yard, but the people next door to ours had bags of garbage in their yard along with a dozen cans of Miller High Life. Dominic said, Hey, at least they have good taste in beer! (He was kidding. I hope). Ix-nay on that house. The second place was the Ikea house, the kitchen done up with all new shiny silver appliances and modern shelving, a skylight above the stairs, big closets, and a black and white tiled bathroom beyond one of the bedrooms. Dominic pointed out that having to go through a bedroom to get to the bathroom was a problem. Shawn readily agreed, b/c he's set on the Oxford St. house and we could've been shown a fully furnished three story in Bella Vista for $10,000 cheaper and he still would've said no. Shawn and I had a hissing fight in the front room while Dominic pretended to be examining the woodwork in the kitchen. Last house was a giganto three story place down the street from where the ambulance was the night before (see previous entry). A really run down exterior, but if you were someone with any restoration talent, it could be an awesome place to fix up.

The upshot is that Shawn put in a bid for the Oxford house. We went to Dominic's to sign the papers. Dominic lives in a palatial mansion, a three story palace with a Gone with the Wind staircase, huge third floor deck, chandeliers, a big back yard, what can only be described as a parlor with ornate antique sofas and paintings from local artists--a totally cool place that Shawn and I will be moving into when Shawn defaults on his mortgage.