XXXIV.

I’m on my way through the 190th St. station after stopping at my old apartment to pick up some stuff: laundry detergent, coffee beans, packing tape, a cabinet shelf divider. I press all three call buttons, one for each elevator, and it is the staffed elevator that arrives first. An older woman is getting off, a bit stooped, carrying bags. She stops in the doorway to finish her conversation with the elevator attendant. I wait to one side, then step in when she moves away. I say hi to the elevator operator.

“What she was telling me in Spanish was about an 82-year-old drug dealer,” he says.

We chat for a minute about the fact of it. She told him that they should just put him away. I’m not sure if that means lock him up for the rest of his life, or execute him. The attendant’s view is that we can’t be easy on crime, no matter how old the criminal – some might think we should cut the guy a break, but no, he’s an adult and knows what he’s doing.

“He’s certainly keeping up with the times,” I say.

The attendant cracks up. “I never thought about it like that,” he says.

The doors open. I wish him a good evening and am on my way.

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