One of the most unanticipated effects of having Ollie's been the change in my relationship with our neighborhood and the city's streets. Ollie's big enough that he walks around holding my hand, so we spend a lot of time just strolling around, looking at things. Today on the way home from our swim class, we stopped to investigate some Con Ed workers around an open manhole. One day we walked along slowly as the garbage truck collected trash on the block, making just the right time so we'd catch it at each stop, it would speed ahead, and we'd meet again at the next collection point. Ollie loves watching all this activity and narrating it.
After we saw the Con Ed men, we stopped to watch a guy getting his car battery replaced on Fifth Avenue. Then we swung by our local fire house, a huge favorite. Alas the doors were down and the truck was out, so we peered in the window identifying coats and boots and spare hoses. What's really neat is how friendly all the guys are. The firemen invite Ollie inside to sit in the truck. The Con Ed man showed Ollie the frayed and burned section of electrical cable they were replacing. The car guy narrated as he installed the new battery.
It's making me feel so connected to the city in an entirely new way. I just worry that it all seems so male, so stereotypically boyish to see and visit these things. I've realized that there aren't a lot of female jobs on the street that we come across, aside from the rare policewoman or mail carrier. We do stop and look at babies in strollers, and chat with nice grandmotherly women who say hello. But somehow it's not the same. I'm beginning to realize a lot of "nurture" happens outside the house, beyond my control.