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Somebody, pinch me

At what point does a place define you? Change your fingerprint? Put another wrinkle in your brow?

I have to examine a “micro-journey” for one of my classes and make a concept collage that shows the place in an abstract way. I’m still putting together the assignment, but in pursuit of images, I took some pictures of the alley behind my house on 31st between Barnard and Jefferson.

If you know Savannah, you aren’t surprised to know that gunshots are not far from my ear range, there are more 40s on the curb than in the trash cans and cats fight more than gangs. And I’m pretty sure my neighbor Earl is selling some hot item because people always shout up to him.

Maybe his doorbell is broken, but I know he has a door and people never knock. Whether it’s 12 midnight or 5 o’clock in the morning, Earl’s doorbell is the person screaming on the front porch “Earl!” until he comes to the door. If people don’t yell up to him for a couple days, I actually linger on the thought of where he might have gone.

This is Earl’s house:

Old women are always on their porch and say “Hey baby” when I pass by. The other day a mentally preoccupied woman with her head hung and her eyes slow sat on my porch for about an hour and on my third time out to my car, she asked if I had any money for gas. I don’t think she has a car.

A man at the church behind the house gave my dog a pack of Milkbones the first day we got her, and two bunches of bananas. Sometimes people are neighborly and sometimes they’re invasive. Sometimes invasive people think they’re being neighborly.

Trying to put all of these attributes into an image, I took pictures of all the nooks and crannies (dirty as they may be) around this place never lacking character. While I’ve only lived here since September, looking at these pictures of random junk, construction and graffiti made me realize how much this place is always loud and alive. There ain’t no Joneses–only Earl. This is not suburbia.

I’m still working on the collage for class, but here are some more endeavors through the alley of West 31st Street.


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