Innards of an Attic

Because my view is from the eighth floor in a neighborhood of one and two story homes and apartments, I get to see all the roof action. There is the gentleman in the apartments below who gets up on the flat roof about once a week and exercises facing the sun. He does large arm swings and a bit of quiet meditation, he reminds of an old friend who likes to take a sun bath each morning. 

Another flat-roofed apartment about a block away has had roof leak issues, I know this because after every rain storm a maintenance man gets up there and sweeps away the pooled water. Many of the flat roofs have large puddles after a storm but only this one has a depuddler on duty.

Unfortunately no naked sunbathers in view, in fact no tanners at all; white, well-educated folks tend to be unanimously pale. There is a one story cement block garage a block away that serves as the daytime haunts of a big yellow cat, he prowls the roof and often naps under some low hanging branches from a nearby tree which also serves as his ladder. 

And then there is the large two-story wood shingled house across the street to the south. There are a couple of residents on the second floor but the building also serves as the offices for a low-income housing advocacy group. Several weeks ago a small group of workers swarmed the roof one morning and began to remove shingles on the far side, I suspected a roof patching job was in progress. The next day there was a lot of inspecting and discussion with roofers and periodic others poking their heads out from the attic through a six-by-six hole. A decision must have been reached because on day three the roofers denuded first the far side of the roof and then the side facing my view. All that was left were the ribs of the roof.

Laid out before me were the treasures of an entire attic. At the top of the staircase were filing cabinets then several rows of boxes with access aisles. This corner of the attic clearly supported the housing group. This was an attic being used as opposed to the cluttered storage in which many such spaces exist. The other three quarters of the space were what we would all expect an attic to be. There were random pieces of furniture, sloppily packed boxes, crates and bags of all sorts.

Somehow exposing the contents of the entire attic to full sunlight stirred something primal in the house residents, because soon a giant sort and discard movement began. The roofers danced above the house while a cleaning crew removed, recycled and rearranged the inside space. As the new shingles were applied a large space had been carved out in the middle of the attic, soon blanketed in a huge oriental carpet. Then two now empty dressers were positioned, a large reading chair and lamp but still a large open space remained in the middle. The new roof closed off my interior view but there was left a wide gap framed out for what had to be a new skylight.

The day the assembled skylight was installed was also the day the new bed arrived and was hoisted up three stories to the newly formed bedroom/reading room in the attic. I suppose low-income housing policy ranks human space above storage space. The winter rains on the skylight should be a comforting sound to fall asleep beneath.