It’s one thing if you meet nice people from time to time.
It’s another thing if those nice people happen to live in your building (which, save for Markus residing in the room next door to mine, has been pretty much barren of nice people for our entire existence in the UK).
And then after nine wonderful years you somehow make the heart-wrenching decision to leave one home for another (London for NYC) and suddenly all these nice people populate the whole darn place. What’s up with that?!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. Just seems crazy that I haven’t been able to enjoy the company (and services) of these fine folks for longer.
There’s the Afghani couple and their small, oh-so-quiet, toddler in Flat 6 just below me… who knew that Monsieur drives a mini-cab and could’ve been zipping me off to Heathrow all these years at just the knock of a neighbour’s door?
There’s Rosangela in Flat 5: petite with a powerful persona… post pints-at-the-pub, impromptu pizza-maker from the North of Italy. Her effervescent enthusiasm for discovering the world is infectious enough to inspire even this old weathered traveller. Once upon a time her father gifted her a photographic travel book entitled something along the lines of Meraviglie del mondo.
And after years and years of faithfully pouring through its pages her papa gave away this prized possession without permission while Ros was away at university. When she nostalgically describes the book as ‘just so (splaying her hands to establish size), with blue pages and white writing and, and, and…’ it breaks your heart just a little. But onward and upward she’s got her replacement (a book so oversized it takes a sweep of the arm in an outstretched arch to flip a page) and goddamnit, she’s going to see these marvels of the world. Ticking them off each year, one by one, and planning the next adventure as soon as she’s unpacked.
Then there are the newest kids on the block. Maria y Emilio, a young couple from sun saturated Seville who have just bravely and recently relocated to this fine city to launch their London fashion debut. They work from home in the raised ground floor flat, tapping away on their laptops and glancing out towards the front steps to keep an eye on things at 47 Sutherland. For a Brooklyn kid raised in a classy co-op, it’s comforting to have Spanish-speaking doormen again after so many years abroad. And then on Wednesday gone our entrepreneurial porteros invite us to preview their new collection. Perfectly tailored, wonderfully wearable woolens, cottons, silks, and jewel-toned velvets fly off the rack and on to our persons as we preemptively bid on natty threads not yet available to the public. The clock strikes 11pm and just as you begin to think the night is over the nocturnal natives of Andalucia roll out the cerveza, cava and charcuterie.
Turns out Maria is the environmental fashion designer whizzkid and Emilio is the business man with a career past rooted in the family business which is, oh god! Can it be true?! Ibéricos de bellota. Acorn eating piggies of porcine perfection. Luxury crack ham, cured for a mean 36 months.
I can’t believe my luck: people to collect the post AND purveyors of primo pig products. Holy jamón batman!