Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Day in the Life of City Dwellers.

I have just returned from an enjoyable two weeks in Texas, San Antonio and Fort Worth, to be exact. As I write this, I am living within view of City Hall, Center City, Philadelphia. My office is about a ten minute walk from our apartment. Here is the start of one city dweller's day.

When I leave our apartment in the morning, around 8:15 a.m, I walk down a short hallway past three apartment doors, take a dozen steps to the elevator doors, press the down elevator button, and while waiting, don my jacket, look in the mirror, and straighten my tie. It takes about a minute for said elevator to get to me and since I live on the 11th floor, two from the top, seldom is anyone on the elevator going down. I hit the L for Lobby button and then stand and watch the art-deco style floor-number lights go from 11 to 10 and down to 1. It is an odd solitariness, that 20 seconds going down. I feel like I am in an old mobster movie.

I turn left as I depart the elevator, say good morning to the security guy, and grab my New York Times from the counter at his desk. When I open the building's exit door I walk onto a Walnut Street busy with pedestrians and traffic. Usually someone is running to catch a bus parked at the corner of 16th Street. The buses are busy and plentiful in the morning, stacked one behind another like bumper cars bumping the front bus to the next stop. I look down to see how close the bus tires are to the curb because it is amazing how close they get. All the inner city curbs are granite stone and not formed concrete.

I walk one block and turn right on 16th Street where there is a a stainless-steel, street-vendor stand whose proprietor is busy cooking breakfast sandwiches. The eggs, onions, sausage, bacon and bread rolls smell great. I have to be careful as I make that turn otherwise I will run into someone squeezing by the stand. Before I get one block on 16th I see the same street person sleeping on the sidewalk grill. Every morning. I have never seen his face, only the blankets and cardboard that cover him.

In a block I begin the criss-cross of a half-dozen streets until I get past Market to JFK. There are street traffic lights to observe and unwritten rules of when they are to be ignored. There is a rhythm to walking city streets and you would be wise to learn that rhythm. Pedestrian traffic flows similarly to automobiles, it bogs down in similar ways, and picks up just as cars do.

But that is a good segue to the next post . . . so . . .

To be continued . . .

2 comments:

Tyler Awesome Coolage said...

where's part two???

Francis Shivone said...

Coolage -- I judge interest by comments. As you can see . . . but thanks for asking.