Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

The Reality of My Surroundings 2

I’m coming back home from walking the pups when I see them. A gaggle of drunk fifty-somethings, grey hair all around, whooping it up in the entryway outside building. As I approach, I see that they’re passing around a pipe, the smell of cheap swag filling the breezeway.

“Uh oh,” says Oldie One, “here comes the guy who lives here.”

“We’re busted,” says Oldie Two.

When I’m just about to the door, I look down to see a pool of vomit at the feet of Oldie Three.

“Could you guys do this somewhere else?” I ask.

“Okaaaay,” says Oldie One. “We’ll go, maaan.”

“C’mon, maaan,” says Oldie Two.

Oldie Three staggers to his feet. But they all just stand there.

“Somewhere else, please.” I say again.

“We heard you the first time,” says Oldie One. I was clearly harshing his mellow.

Take a moment to embrace the sheer weirdness of this. Here’s a gaggle of former hippies, back in the city reliving their glory days, and somehow I’ve become The Man. Thing is, it’s not the sixties anymore, and I actually live here.

I could have said: Hey Oldies, you must be lost. Haight Street is three blocks that way.

Or: Hey Oldies, have some respect for your juniors. Some of us still live here.

Or: Hey Oldies, isn’t Matlock on somewhere?

But I said nothing. I just took the dogs upstairs, waited a few minutes for them to clear out, and then went back down to hose off my entryway.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.