We will never feel safe about our children. We will never feel that we have done enough when something goes wrong. No number of bricks can prevent people from experiencing negativity. Tests only delude us, soothing our fears that we are not teaching the next generation anything. You cannot truly evaluate knowledge, a person's worth, or an individual's potential contribution on such a limited scale.
2006 is not only the year of abiona never shutting up, it also seems to be the year for photos. My journal has seen more images in the past couple months than it has in most of its history, and I am going to continue both trends today, for a birthday present from my mother and stepfather arrived. It is her old camera, and I am quite thrilled with this. Though the flash no longer stays down without a rubber band, and the shutter's gone slow from taking so many pictures of birds, it works and it's digital, which means I no longer have to spend precious money on film and processing unless whim strikes me.
When I got home after work and found the camera waiting for me, I immediately picked it up and headed right back out the door. It's been rainy and gray for several days, and the lighting was poor, but that was definitely not going to stop me! Most results were pretty blurry, and 95% of what was salvageable required a fair bit of curve adjustment in Photoshop due to environment and inexperience with the new equipment. I definitely need to get better acquainted with this camera's functions.
I had been eying this block of seemingly abandoned houses for a couple weeks. They're near a very ghastly construction which looks very nearly like a jail, but is most likely Section 8 apartment housing. A nearby building was missing all the glass in its windows, and through the holes, I spied trees growing. As I was lining up the frame, I heard a voice behind me. I drawled out "What?" as I turned.
"Give me your money," repeated a kid on a bike. He did not strike me as especially threatening ... more like a young boy trying to be a punk. I told him I had nothing (though I probably wasted too many syllables in this process), which was absolutely true, as I was carrying neither cash nor card. I went back to trying to get a shot of the tree in the window and "ignored" him.
Because of its design, the microphone in my hearing aid picks up on sounds behind me fairly well, and I could hear him wander off. I sighed and considered the matter. Firstly, while I believe that people are trying to live their lives in the best way they know how, I am forced to admit that some folks might think that mugging me is the best thing they know how to do. Secondly, the only things of value I had were my new-to-me camera and my life, and I would be dreadfully pissed if either of those were taken by force. If a twerp on a bicycle thought I made a good target, then today was probably not my day, and it was time to move on before something bad actually happened.
I walked onto more populous roads, and a sick curiosity led me to the local Whole Foods. Just what is it about this store that draws in so many? I'm still not entirely sure. It may merely be due to its trendiness! The dreadlock density is about a fourth of the Co-Op, which means that yuppies probably felt enough contact with an Other to feel "different," yet not too much, because that would be threatening. Whole Foods also has the advantage of being located in recent gentrification, whereas the Co-Op is still smack-dab in a questionable and not exceptionally accessible part of town. The success of finding the medium in which most shoppers feel comfortable and superior is affirmed by the fact that the nearest Huge Pigeon grocery store has copied their new look from Whole Foods, almost down to the color scheme.
This neighborhood was, apparently, one of the largest retail areas in the state. A number of bad urban planning decisions ruined that. I've also heard a number of complaints about the busway being another isolating factor that contributed to the area's downfall. I'm not sure how valid these are, however, as the busway was built alongside a railroad ... and surely the railroad company did not permit people to cross wherever they pleased. Is the busway a scapegoat or an actual psychological barrier?
Money is definitely sneaking back in. I wonder how long it will take to reach the tallest building in the area, the Highfield Tower, which has been abandoned since the late 80s. I also wonder where the displaced poor will go.