The Old Cars

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March 7, 2013 by Sarojini Seupersad

I’m beginning to feel as if I’m living right smack in the middle of the intersection of Past and Future, but where Present doesn’t yet exist. It feels like a small detail that’s been left out; a detail only I’ve noticed. I can clearly look forward and see what’s ahead; I can turn around and see everything that’s behind me. But where am I right now? I’m not really sure.

I live in a confusing part of Bushwick; a hub of liveliness and artist’s lofts, natural food stores and wino’s. I live in a blossoming neighborhood in which there is a strange amalgam of modern and prolonged decrepitness. There’s a new building of beautiful, expensive condo’s a few blocks away, yet also a blighted, boarded-up three-story walk-up down the street. On every block, there are several grassy, caged-up empty lots, giving the mouth of the neighborhood a toothless smile, yet waiting patiently for city gardeners to start a project and make reclaimed wood fences and let their kids run barefoot, alongside the chickens. There’s soy milk in the bodegas. There’s the Williamsburg Art Scene overflow living side-by-side immigrants and low-income people in decades-old public housing. Wine bars; coffee houses; book stores; art galleries; tapas; deli’s with signs in their windows that boldly implore: We Take EBT & WIC; street vendors selling homemade empanadas; sneaker stores; botánicas. It’s an interesting mix, like I said. And like all lovers of the Past, I’m wondering where this Past is going to go, once the Future really takes over.

For the time being, the Past isn’t going anywhere. In the middle of all of this, is a city impound lot, the kind where unfortunate lost souls must travel to after they’ve had their cars towed. This impound lot is, for some reason or another, surrounded by old cars – cars that look abandoned and lost in time. These are cars you don’t see on the road any more. You’d notice if you did. These cars grant me backward glances that gaze upon the Bronx in the 70’s; grainy old photos; childhood thighs sticking to hot vinyl seats; pineapple soda Sundays and running around on Orchard Beach. These are my old cars, and I wish there were more of them.

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