Sunday, January 21, 2007

Alternate Uses


Looking north out of the Starbucks, across the southwest corner of the intersection of San Antonio Street and 15th Street.


Along San Antonio one can see a bus stop sign, with a trash can to the right. 10 feet to the left there is a newspaper rack. Traffic lights hang over the intersection. One can glimpse the moonlight tower at the southwest corner of the intersection. In the background to the northwest there is an empty parking lot and to the northeast there is a 7-11.


Three thirty-ish, Sunday the 21st of January.


Five minutes pass before a man walks east up San Antonio. He disposes of something in the trash can before glancing at the bus stop sign. He stands a moment before casually placing the jackets from under his arm on top of the newspaper rack. Then he unfurls the newspaper from under his other and leans against the newspaper stand as if it where a bar table, and begins to read. There is no proper bus stop, just a sign, no bench, no shade; so he improvises in finding comfort while waiting. As the wind picks up the man puts on one of his jackets and glances up and down 15th street, he’s been waiting for quite some time, before continuing his reading. At last the bus arrives, he gathers his things and is on his way at last.

Glancing back at the newspaper stand after the bus drives off to the east one can see the man has left one of his shirts on his impromptu clothes rack.


Ten minutes or so pass before two men with a dog can be seen in the distance walking south on San Antonio. As they cross 15th street their rag tag appearance becomes apparent. They turn to their right upon crossing; the shirt atop the clothes rack has caught their eyes. One passes it, while the other, with the dog, stops to take the shirt. He inspects his find: a very large navy polo. A thought must pass his mind, “Perhaps my dog is cold in this weather?” The man drapes the shirt across the dogs back as he rummages through his pockets. With his folding knife the dog’s owner cuts a hole in the back of the shirt to slide the leash through, ingenious!

The men turn around, bumming a pair of cigarettes from another traveler at the intersection before returning north on San Antonio. The dog hobbles along behind, his legs at times getting caught in the sleeves of his new shirt.


Twenty minutes pass before a woman hurries by, chatting on her mobile phone, oblivious to her surroundings. The newspaper stand is not there. Minutes drag by before a man passes. His head turns in acknowledgement as he passes the stand, simply aware of his surroundings or perhaps thinking it yet another unnecessary eye sore in a cluttered urban setting. People pass but no visionaries.

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