Forty-nine years ago, on July 20, 1969, the Lunar Module carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon. Neil Armstrong stepped off a ladder onto the lunar surface, spoke his famous words — “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” — and history was made.
I was watching on that day, along with probably everyone else on the planet who had access to a TV set. I remember sitting with UJ and watching grainy black and white footage as the lunar module landed and then, later, Armstrong stepped into history. I was 12 years old. Even now, I still feel a little thrill just thinking about that day and that moment, when it seemed like anything was possible and it would be the start of a golden age of space exploration that would take human beings to Moon bases, Martian colonies, and on to the stars. Of course, that didn’t happen . . . but I still remember that awed and awesome feeling.
In our German Village neighborhood, most residents tend to be very protective of our streets and sidewalks. We also recognize, however, that come trash day it’s not uncommon for scavengers to drive up and down the streets, looking for the possibility that one person’s trash could become another person’s treasure. A large discarded item often is plucked before the garbage guys swing by.
But what if large items are so ugly or smelly that even scavengers won’t touch them — and they’re not within the guidelines defining appropriate refuse to be collected on the standard pick-up days? What’s a resident who cares about appearances to do then?
After this unappealing, overstuffed floral print chair and mirror appeared on the sidewalk and then stayed there, like a pimple on the smooth brick skin of Third Street, one resident decided to go down the passive-aggressive note route. First one hand-lettered note — the one asking to “please make them not be here anymore” — appeared. Then, when the floral monstrosity remained for a day or two more, the second one popped up . . . just in case the offender needed to know the proper method for disposing of the overstuffed horror. And does the handwriting indicate it’s one note-leaver, or two? The use of lower case in the newer note makes me wonder.
When I take my walk this morning, I’ll be eager to see whether the unsightly chair and mirror are still there — and, if so, whether a new, perhaps more pointed, note has sprouted on the rear of the mirror. We’ve seen the passive-aggressive “please” and “thx,” and the even more ironic “XO” hugs and kisses. What’s next? A passive-aggressive smiley face?