Guest Blogger: Carolyn Kellogg
In my corner of Echo Park, the neighbors are all packed in tight. I live in a back house, with enough room for a small walkway and a strip of dirt about a foot wide. If I lean out my bedroom window, I can touch the fence that separates me from my neighbor. It’s not much space, and when I tried growing carrots they were chomped by a bunny that roams the neighborhood at midnight (see?). But I’ve got some beets and lettuce and tomatoes that are happy here.
And I’m happy here, too. I get to work from home a lot – I write the LA Times book blog, and while I do go into the office, it’s also kind of my job to sit at home and read and write. My little back house is perfect for that – except for my neighbor, and next Friday.
It would be more accurate, I suppose, to say my neighbor and “El Proximo Viernes.” If you know “El Proximo Viernes” (“Next Friday,” in English), you probably know the contemporary version by Espinoza Paz. It’s a Mexican ballad, and my neighbor plays a version that was recorded, I’m guessing, before Paz was born – all big analog horns and sweeping ranchera waltz beat. It’s a pretty good song, actually, or that’s what I thought the first time my neighbor played it at top volume. But then he played it again. And again and again and again, hours at a time. While singing along. At the top of his lungs.
So when my friend Stephanie told me about Woolly Pocket, where she now works, I thought YES! I could plant carrots out of the reach of the midnight bunny, and simultaneously create a sound barrier between me and Mr. Next Friday. Instead, I planted pretty things that will drape.
I think I’ll need a higher fence – and a few more pockets – to completely banish “El Proximo Viernes,” but I’ll wait until next Friday to worry about that.