I was sitting on my neighbor’s porch with a drink, above the lemonade stand at the sidewalk’s edge. My 10-year old was threatening to skateboard down the 10 or so cement steps to the commerce area. People walked by, and more than a few bought lemonade from the 3 little sales girls.

One woman crossed the street and stealthily bent down to put out her cigarette–beyond the view of the lemonade stand but in view of the porch. She bought her fifty-cent lemonade then took a loop around and retrieved her cigarette. With a smile she crossed back over and cut back through the alley, probably going home.

Years ago, I was talking about my neighborhood to a friend. She was shocked that I lived in D.C., proper. She had lived her life outside the beltway in Va. “The difference between my street and yours,” I told her, “is that when an ambulance or firetruck arrives you part your curtains to see what’s happening. We go down to the sidewalk to see.”

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