Skirt! is a feminist magazine that's published in many cities (including Charleston and Boston) that emphasizes the "out of ordinary." Their August issue featured a short poem (I don't know what else to call it!), with recommendations like:
"Improvise. Backpack to the grocery...what will you find along the way? A lost dog, a hidden backyard fountain, your neighbor's Gardenias-Gone-Wild show."I like to improvise, so I thought I'd tell you what I've found along the way:
I. I am "Lauren, the running enthusiast," (hehe Lauren Moore) and as I was running on Wednesday evening, I stopped because I saw two black guys cutting up a funny looking aquatic creature on the pavement. I inquired of the two gentlemen about their catch and they responded, "It's a ray of course! You haven't tried it before?" They said that the wing meat was the best. I told them that next time they should bring a knife instead of the orange-handled scissors they were using and they agreed.
II. On Friday around 6:00PM, Andrea and I were walking back to her place from Harris Teeter with groceries. We passed the firehouse on Meeting and George, which is actually one of the engines whose men fell in the Super Sofa Store fire in the Summer of '07. Anywho, I asked Andrea if she didn't mind stopping to check out these awesome firetrucks that I saw parked inside. Being the great gal she is, Andrea obliged. We were "oohing" and "ahhing" at the trucks because they were old school, manufactured in 1948 and much smaller than the ones we use now. On the back of one was a metal cylinder, history's version of a fire extinguisher. I went into the courtyard to see what was going on and I found a bunch of firemen playing wiffleball and having a blast. The firemen asked us if we wanted to play, but I knew Andrea wanted to get back since we had perishables. She told me that she'd come back with me soon and I told her that she better not be playing with me!
III. As I was jogging today I passed public housing: brick, one-story units that stick out like an Inuit in Charleston because they are surrounded by grand, historic properties. Anyways, as I was approaching the units, which utilize clotheslines and on whoose stoops have inexpensive, plastic furniture, I saw white and black kids playing soccer together in the grassy area between the units. I normally would not pass through the units in fear of disturbing "their" zone, but seeing the kids of different colors and classes playing together gave me the courage to enter. At that moment I was happy to see that differences in wealth and race don't have to define friendship.
I know those tidbits were verbose, but I wanted to share how important it can be to go beyond the normal habits of urban existence. From the run-in with the stingray and the two black men, I learned interesting things and utilized a different perspective. From the fire station soiree, I found out how friendly and welcoming firemen and other public servants can be, despite their reputation of being sterile and overly job-focused. The last incident made me hopeful because I saw how things aren't always how one might expect them to be.