Recently I have noticed an inordinate number of super heros on the streets of Washington Heights. Blame it on the snowy weather (super heros come out in full force when their powers are needed), but there are capes and masks everwhere. Just this morning I passed the Lone Ranger: a little boy dressed from head to toe in royal blue (blue poofy snow jacket, blue cowboy boots, blue cowboy hat decorated squarely in the front with a red star). Where was Tonto in this urban winter wonderland? At the pharmacy after work today, I passed a more sinister super hero: an older boy staring solemnly from behind a Darth Vader mask (there were heavy breathing and sinus problems involved I'm sure of it-- his mother was buying decongestant).
Walking Poochini past the mine field of yellow and brown mysteriosos that dot the glaciers near the sidewalk, I passed two less obvious super heros: a father and his pre-teen son throwing snow balls (well, now iceballs since temperatures have plummeted, turning slush to ice). You'll never get me, the boy yelled. Hah, you'll see, the father called back as he threw an iceball far and above the boy's head. The boy ran away laughing, knowing that he would soon best his father in other things.
There are inconspicous super heros: the man who helped me dig my car out from more than a foot of snow. The superintendents who chip away at the ice that encrust fire hydrants, and who clear the sidewalks for the rest of us. All of New York is awaiting the garbage collector super heros, whose services have been interrupted due to winter storms. Hopefully they will soon come: the garbage has piled to higher than waist level.
Then there is my personal super hero, Poochini, who leaps for joy when I open the door upon returning from a long work day. He is the 20 lb bundle of energy with the Napoleonic complex, who doesn't realize his size and chases after the 150 pound Cane Corso (Caesar Augustus, Augie to friends), in the dog park. Augie leaps in fright, surprised by Poochini's audacity. Poochini is the super hero who sometimes won't let me write, squirming on the couch for my attention, reminding me to take a break.
We all need super heros now and then. Sometimes, we forget where to look for them.