Wicker King (jtoomey) wrote,
Wicker King
jtoomey

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Status Quo

A number of months ago -- it was early spring, I remember that much -- I stopped at the town library on my way to work. I was returning a book which was due that day, and the place closed before I typically left the office. Unfortunately, it also opened a bit later than I was typically on the highway, halfway to work. I decided to get in fifteen minutes or so late, and return the novel first thing.

I live in a relatively wealthy town. I don't live in a particularly top notch section of the town, but, overall, the folks in Franklin are pretty well off. I used to live in Boston, but, after four years of relative rurality, I had become conditioned to the plodding, ever-so-regular flow of suburb life.

I got to the library about ten minutes before they opened. It was slightly chilly, but I enjoy the brisk weather, and I decided to wait outside, beside the rear entrance.

Five minutes later I was joined by a woman who was also waiting for the doors to open, but for a decidedly different reason -- the library is well heated, and she had nowhere else to go.

My city reflexes kicked in -- I felt the urge to walk away before she could (god forbid) ask me for change, or strike up a conversation, or, well, exist in my little, sheltered world. Franklin wasn't supposed to have homeless people, right? Did I miss a memo?

I don't know why I was so surprised by her selection of location; the library is a logical choice if you need a place to stay. It's warm, and they don't mind if you sit around for hours without buying anything.

I don't know why I was so surprised by her at all, in fact; there are people everywhere who get shuffled to the bottom of the lot. I think suburbians just do a better job ignoring them.

Five more minutes passed, and the librarians opened the doors. I returned my book, and the woman took a seat, staring off at something I couldn't see amidst the stacks. Sometimes, even now, I think about her, and that inevitably leads me to wonder why I walked out of that library so quickly. I can write whatever I want here in this journal, but the simple fact is that, until I learn to make a difference, I have no right to bemoan the status quo. I'm a part of it.
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