David McGlynn’s collection of stories, The End of the Straight and Narrow, is forthcoming from Southern Methodist University Press. He’d like to thank the stranger who came by with the snow blower the Sunday after his son was born. Nearly two feet had fallen overnight, Hayden was on a ventilator, and the stranger cleared a path for his car. May God bless you and keep you. . . . 
Jun 01 2008
For years my wife and I rented a house with people in the basement. Below us lived a string of young families, some with children, some without, willing to sacrifice daylight and good ventilation for a savings in rent. The ductwork connected our two apartments, and at night, while eating dinner and watching television, Katherine and I could hear whoever was below us eating dinner and watching television. We heard them fight, and they heard us. If I tried to shower while someone downstairs was showering or running the washing machine or the sink, the water came through the showerhead in a trickle, and ice-cold. I’d stomp my foot and holler, but it never made a difference. I lost count of the nights we lay awake listening to the mother below us trying soothe her crying child, muted there-theres and shhhs echoing from the floor. Katherine felt guilty when our son arrived and we returned the favor, but I didn’t. They had it coming.