The only pleasant part of my walk this morning was the friendly banter with the staff at Ellwood Thompson.
I knew it would be hot; that's why I set out early and purposefully: walk to ET, get some H&H bagels, come straight back, and call it exercise. My route seemed cursed: dead squirrel in the first alley I passed, Cary Street all torn up and stinky, workmen clogged the streets, diesel machinery idled, and the natural market's parking lot was full of SUVs intent on running me over.
For a moment, I thought an update like "I noticed on my morning walk that drivers approach a road stripped for repaving in one of two way: proceed cautiously up the center of the street, or stake out a lane of one's own and floor it" would be charming. After two or three blocks more blocks, though, the stench on the sidewalks left from the Watermelon Festival combined with the muggy heat and the street repaving machines warming up drove whimsy from my mind. This is why we are a minor league town. Sure, we can organically grow a charming shopping district that draws suburbanites, but we cannot instill the practice, custom, ordinance, or plain old sense of pride enough to get merchants to hose off the sidewalk in front of their shops from time to time. The festival was ten days ago! Why does the place reek of garbage still?
Ellwood Thompson's parking lot did not stink, and the cashier and bagger admired my insulated day pack. I said it was designed for carrying a lunch on a hike, but it I find it perfect for walking to ET. The bagger said, "I'm always impressed by how much you can fit in! Sometimes I think 'There's no way she's getting it all in this time!' But you always do!" I credited years as a Girl Scout camp counselor and cheerfully headed home. (The pack a plainer version of this.)
The heat dampened my mood -- well, all of me -- as did block after block of apartment buildings with the recently-delivered phone books left kicked around on the doorstep or into the sidewalk. Kids, we know you are too cool to use a phone book, but at least take it inside and put it in the trash or recycling bin. Don't leave it in the street like roadkill.