When I need of a bit of inspirational air to breathe, I'll often take a walk in the city and make a point of noticing things I typically would not.
Yesterday, I walked down Hillsborough street along side the campus of NCSU and began noticing a few things that I stopped noticing decades ago. Things like infrastructure, hardware and patterns in nature. Things we step on, over or past every day with little thought.
I had just come from meeting with a writers group where I was developing the characters for my next book. As I walked and began to notice and appreciate all of the mundane objects, I decided to try the exercise of imagining life from their perspective and what it would be like to bring personality to the ordinary.
People used to rely on me for their news.
Reward! Lost dog, Lost Cat- Ladies night Tuesday!- Have you Seen this girl? -Another shitty band at the bar down the street this Thursday- Roommate Wanted! - Used Textbooks
If you wanted to know what was going on around campus, you would come see me. I was good at my job and have the scars to prove it. I guess it was around the spring of 1962 when I realized the staples no longer hurt me. By then the scar tissue was well developed, and most of them were going into the top layers of posters from years earlier anyway.
I've been retired for a few years now. I'm still here on Hillsborough, but it seems like people must be getting their news in some other way.
Hey, look-it; you need your ears lowered, you come see Tony. Nothin' fancy. If I wanted fancy I'd have chosen maybe, like, a serif font like that Ariana Grande all the kids keep talkin' about.
There's no fancy game-boxes or ESPN, but we got a 2003 copy of Field & Stream, and even one of those ones, you know, the magazines with, uh, with the gals? Yeah you do.
You all look like ants to me. I'm originally from Florida, where I worked on a project for the mouse. Just moved here a few months ago and I swear to god I don't understand how you people walk around in sandals and tank tops all the time. It's forty frickin' degrees out here!
Raleigh's been nice so far, but I gotta tell ya, that Korean joint in the building below is driving me nuts! The smells coming outta there have me lickin' my chops all day long. It's a major distraction when there's important work to do.
Three days ago I was on her wrist. I'm not sure what happened. We were inseparable for weeks. I never got to tell her I loved her, but I hope she knew.
If I close my eyes I can still remember the smell of her conditioner. I think it was TRESemmé, and it was glorious. Damn those were good times. We would jog up and down this very sidewalk three times a week when she wasn't in class. I loved how her ponytail whipped behind me as she ran. Left, right, left, right, left, right.
On Saturday, she got all dressed up for an evening out with friends. Even though her hair was down, I was still right there on her wrist. Right there where I belonged.
The last thing I remember was her walking out to get into an Uber and the next thing I saw when I woke was the sky. It was cold. It was damp. It was morning.
What happened? Will she be back? I wonder if she saw me now would she even recognize me like this and if she did, would she still want me?
It's truly embarrassing to seen like this, much less have to discuss it with you.
You see, I've lived a rather dignified life until recently. My neighborhood is going through a few changes and that of course affects us all. I've been here since the early 1950s and have seen this little part of town change in ways I never imagined. We even have a fancy hotel two blocks from here.
With all of the changes and new buildings, the city needed to tear me apart to install new utilities. I realize the importance, though now I look like nothing more than a bad parody of a Jack O' Lantern's smile.
I do hope they plan on piecing me back together soon. I still have important work to do in this community and plan on serving it for at least another one hundred years.