I usually explore downtown on my own terms (ie, alone). I become engaged in the scenes and faces in front of me but there’s never anyone with whom I can share these musings. So (ta-da!) La Blog:
– SO MANY FROWNING SERIOUS FACES. I often pass women who look absolutely miserable. I always try to smile back but am countered with no response. I just want to know: what is so terrible? why do you walk with such defiance, such a scowl?
– A WOMAN DRINKING CHARDONNAY, IN A COFFEE SHOP, … at 9AM. I wanted to smile at her, too. But she didn’t look completely present. I mean this is in the most serious way possible. I felt sad for her.
– THE WWI MEMORIAL IS PERPETUALLY EMPTY. I’ve run by this memorial twice now during peak memorial hours. While it’s not impressive the way Lincoln or Jefferson are, it’s right in the middle of everything. I like it that way. I spend time there, contemplating, mid-run.
– TWO TEENAGERS BRAZENLY EXIT SAFEWAY WITHOUT PAYING. They were sneaky … I only witnessed this because I wasn’t busily fiddling with my phone. I wanted to say something, but didn’t know if my eyes were deceiving me … until one of the cashiers shouted frantically at the security guard. He turned to run out and catch them.
– THE DOUBLETAKES I GET FOR LUGGING AROUND (and reading) A LIBRARY BOOK. At least that’s the reason I think I get those strange looks in coffeeshops and on the metro … ? I have yet to find another person in this entire city toting a library book. The looks may also be related to the fact that I don’t wear a suit and so stick out like a sore thumb during work hours.
– THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE COMPLAINING ABOUT LIFE / OTHER PEOPLE. Seriously, though (yes, I have been doing quite a bit of eavesdropping … ! oops). But dissatisfaction seems to be the focus of so many conversations. If it’s not ‘my boss is the devil,’ or ‘I just can’t stand my job,’ it’s ‘the metro is the bane of my existence.’
These observations are all so negative. On a positive note:
– I DON’T LOOK LIKE A TOURIST ANYMORE. I’ve been asked twice already about the metro (ie, “which side do I need to be on to go to xxx?”). It may be that I look like an approachable person … but, considering that I keep my head buried in a book 95% of the time and walk as quickly as possible up escalators, I don’t believe it.