Week two of work, finished. Three day weekend. Yay.
Today I went for a walk around the neighborhood, you know, because it was sunny and all. It's so surprising how few people are outside. Most of the people I saw were men mowing the lawn, a couple of kids, two dog-walkers and a woman raking leaves. The nice thing about the suburbs is that they're quiet. Also, there are some untouched blocks of forests with trees that are probably more than one hundred years old. So that's always nice.
I stopped by my middle school that was recently razed and then renovated. I don't know how they did it, but they managed to make it look MORE like a prison than it already did. I mean, there isn't even a sign near the buildings to indicate that it is, indeed, a public school. It's literally painted grey with concrete accents. The random passerby would easily confuse it for a low-security penitentiary.
I really do enjoy the fall. I mean, sure, the unswept leaves beneath my feet did add an intrusive amount of noise to my otherwise soundless tread. That happens. The most gorgeous things I saw today, though, were Japanese maples--the kind with the leaves that have, like, six delicate and thin prongs. Amazing. There's also something to be said about the smell of chimney smoke and laundry and bitingly cold yet pure air that transports me back to my elementary school days. It seems the older I get, the less time I spend outdoors.
When I went for a walk downtown this week it was much less peaceful but still interesting. For example, when I climbed the hill up to the nearby public housing community, the sidewalks were littered with glass shards from the parked cars that had been broken into. I saw a young mother waiting at the bus stop with her daughter. Down the hill at the park homeless people were sleeping on benches or talking to each other in hushed tones. I don't know if it was my psychological bias or not but I swear I smelled the stale alcohol on them. Not even a block later the only people I'd cross paths with were professional businesspeople: men in dress shirts, slacks and ties, Northface jackets and leather briefcases. And then there are the easily-spotted tourists that look a little aimless and unsure, cameras at the ready.
Big cities are always strange because they attract such a diversity of people, and yet it's like we're completely unknown to each other. It's all at once exhilarating and alienating.
I'm just trying my best to stay open and receptive to this new experience--this whole eight to five thing. I'm starting to have some hope that this job will not be the end of me and that I just might be able to possibly do some good in the division, however long I might be there.
I just hope I'm not around long enough to be put on break room clean-up duty. Gross.