I’ve been living in Covington for a few weeks now. I’m still feeling my way around the area. As a writer, I keep a notebook of interesting things I see or memorable conversations I have. I’ve compiled some little Covington stories to share with you.
Cat Poop and Green Flies: One of the tenants who lives in my building is named Gus, or that’s what I’m calling him here. He’s a real nice guy and he also takes care of mowing the grass. One day last week we had a discussion about the cat poop situation.
“We got a lot of stray cats around here and they’re always shitting in the grass, and you wouldn’t believe the number of green flies I’ve seen on that shit,” Gus said. “I found this new insecticide that works really well. I found a bag of the old-timey stuff but it doesn’t work as well, so I went back to the new stuff that’s better.”
That’s good information to have. Instead of picking up the cat shit with a pooper scooper, I’ll be able to step in it, but at least I won’t be surrounded with green flies.
The Pawn Broker: During my various moves, I’ve been carting around an old camera and a pair of binoculars that I never use. There are a few pawn shops on Madison Avenue, so I decided to go to one of them to see if I could get some cash. This is what the pawn broker, a middle-aged, white-haired gentleman said to me: “You can’t just come in here with stuff you no longer want and expect me to give you money. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. We’re not friends. Got it?”
He gave me five bucks for the binoculars. As I took the money and started walking to the Walgreens also on Madison Avenue to get a pack of cigarettes, I thought the pawn broker must be from New York City. People from Kentucky are friendlier than that.
The Cigarette Lady: The Walgreens on Madison Avenue doesn’t open until 8 o’clock on weekday mornings. I found this out the hard way by getting there half an hour early. I was out of cigarettes.
There are bus benches located at the side of the store. I took a seat and decided to wait for the store to open. A young lady with brown hair and wearing shorts and a T-shirt was sitting on the bench.
“They don’t open until 8,” she said.
“Yeah, just found out,” I replied. “I need to get a pack of cigarettes.”
“Oh, I got some,” she said.
She reached into her bag and pulled out her pack of smokes. They were even my brand.
“Here, take two,” she said. “That should last you until the store opens.”
This has never happened to me before. I thanked her, of course. As I sat there smoking, I thought to myself that maybe everyone in Kentucky is like this lady. Maybe I’d just sit on that bench all day saying I’m out of cigarettes. Maybe I’d never need to actually buy them for myself again.
Making Travel More Interesting: Outside of a liquor store on Pike Street, I watched a guy leaning against a car empty half of his small 7UP bottle out onto the sidewalk. In his pants pocket was a small bottle of vodka. He poured some of the vodka into the 7UP bottle filling it up, and then he screwed on the cap and put the bottle of vodka back in his pocket, just in time to catch his bus. Wow, how come I never thought of doing something like that?
A Knock on my Window: Some Sunday mornings ago around 6 o’clock, there was a violent thunderstorm with lots of lighting. It woke me up, so I went to my desk and turned on my desk lamp. Shortly thereafter, I hear a knock on my window. Keep in mind I live on the first floor.
“Who is it?”
“I’m Carol,” the window-knocking woman said. “I’m a friend of Tina’s and I need to see her.”
“Hold on for a bit,” I replied.
As quickly as I could, I put on my pants and shoes. The woman kept knocking on the window.
“Can you please hurry up?” the woman yelled.
“Just wait!” I yelled back.
With my pants and shoes now on, I opened my apartment door, then opened the front door of the building. There was Carol soaking wet and glaring at me. She didn’t say a word to me as she went up the stairs.
How rude — not even a thank you. She must be related to the pawn broker on Madison Avenue.
A Cop Knocks on my Door: This was late morning and a few days after the window knocking. I’m figuring Gus must have let the police officer into the building.
“What’s your name, sir?” the officer, a younger guy, asked.
“How long have you lived here?”
“A couple weeks,” I replied.
He showed me a picture of a young woman, someone I didn’t recognize. The officer said she gave my apartment as her address.
“This apartment was vacant for quite a while before I moved in,” I said.
“Larry Gross. I know that name,” the officer said. “Do you write that Living Out Loud column in CityBeat?”
“Guilty,” I replied.
“I read you all the time,” he said.
What an officer and a gentleman and such good taste in reading. I think living in Covington will work out fine.