People don’t really use curtains or blinds around here, not even the people fronting route 6. As you drive around, you catch glimpses of lamps in windows, little pools of light spilling out. During the winter, most windows are lit with electric candles, beacons against the long dark.
I light real candles in the dusk, year round, because I want my windows to glow with that light. Welcome the night gently. When I walk my neighborhood, I keep my head down, because staring in open windows is rude. Exception: the window of the garage on the corner that is always cracked open; I can see squares of light from the garage door on the walls and floors. Light draws my eyes.
I’m insatiably curious about my neighbors. There’s a small, neat man who walks to Russ and Marie’s for dinner a few nights a week. In the fall and winter he carries a flashlight to light his way. His lawn is perfect moss, well tended. Everything about his house proclaims neatness as a virtue. I’ve exchanged helloes with him as I walk Baxter, but this is New England. We don’t introduce ourselves to neighbors, just nod and say hello.
I stopped to talk to my landlady a few nights ago as she shoveled dirt into her new planter bed. She wants to be self sufficient this summer, fewer trips to the grocery. She gives me a little neighborhood gossip — this neighbor just moved, this other neighbor is looking to switch to his rental. “But,” she says, “I wasn’t born in Wellfleet so I’m not a native here. Snobby.” Truro and Eastham are just as bad. “Whatever, I’m from fucking Provincetown, I don’t care. Who doesn’t love Provincetown.”
I’ll be a washashore for the rest of my life but I am putting down roots, tentatively. Kickball this summer. Clients spread out across the mid and outer cape. I drive backroads, take the long way home, not really in any hurry. 6A is slowly blooming, gorgeous from the canal to Orleans, tiny little main streets in tiny little towns. I take long walks in the woods, write every day religiously, draw and talk to friends. I’ve stopped checking twitter in the morning, stopped my ludic loop habits. I’m happy.