Spirit Hill is located by the intersection of three streets. Where the three streets connect, a pair of black sneakers dangle from the telephone wires. The sneakers have been there, seemingly, forever. They move in the breeze.
They bug me.
I have tried to think of how to get them down. Get a gun and shoot at the laces until they break? But then there is the whole thing about guns being dangerous and me not knowing how to shoot one and the chance that I might shoot a bird or trip and fall mid-shot and kill a passing driver.
So no on the guns.
I thought about getting a high ladder, but that was a ridiculous thought for several reasons. The first reason is that, as I stated, these sneakers hung at the intersection of three roads, roads people often speed on as the go from point A to point B. The second reason is that I am terrified of climbing ladders that have more than four steps.
The sneakers continued to bang into each other up above, messy ornaments in the sky.
Last week a Verizon truck was parked by the house on the side of the road, so I walked over to ask the guy if he had any ideas about how to remove said sneakers.
The man was frustrated. His cones had stuck together and he was working hard to pull them apart. I told him about the sneakers and he told me about his stuck cones. He told me the sneakers hung in a dangerous area, a three-way intersection, and he couldn’t risk it on his own. I wasn’t a viable wing man because I was not employed by Verizon.
I thanked him for his time, feeling a little foolish—I mean, COVID is out in the world and I’m all in a bunch over a pair of sneakers. How privileged can one person be?
I went off and did my errands, and when I got back, the sneakers were neatly placed at the side of the driveway.
He’d flipping gone and done it.
For the next few days, still, I would think about him in the middle of the three streets cutting down the sneakers to the sound of no applause, and I would feel a wash of happiness. Someone had done me a radical kindness, and for nothing. His action made me want to do kind things for others just so they could feel the way I was: happy.
Yesterday I was out riding my bike, and I went past a parked Verizon truck. I turned my bike around so I could get a better look at the guy in the driver’s seat.
He was busy doing some paperwork, so I tapped on his window.
DID YOU TAKE DOWN THE SNEAKSERS BY MY HOUSE? I asked him when we didn’t have glass between us anymore.
He smiled. “I don’t like to tell people I can do things, because if I can’t, I’ve failed. But no cars even went by when I was up there. It was easy.”
I told him he was the best. I told him the week before, Verizon had me in tears as they “helped” me over the phone with our disrupted internet service. I told him I had wanted to thank him but didn’t want to try calling or contacting Verizon in any way unless I was on fire. I told him I was so happy to see him so I could thank him in person.
“What are the chances we’d run into each other?” he asked, gesturing to the quiet, country road.
We were so lucky.