Wandering

The weather outside is sunny and bright. When I got up this morning, I decided that I should take advantage of it, rather thank skulking indoors all day. I already pushed my socializing limits last night when I was out for First Friday, but I thought I should suck it up like a big girl. I’m quite the lurker, you know. Mainly because usually when I venture into the outside world, I end up feeling even more depressed and less interested in human society.

At any rate, I got dressed and wandered up to the library to return some books and to see if anything had come in for me. Alas, nothing on the hold shelf (although I did note what all the other Smiths are reading, thanks to the awesome system where the library prints our full names on hold cards). I wandered bleakly around the library to see if I could find anything to read between moldering 1950s books and a formidable mystery section, and I was sadly disappointed. Usually there’s a book or two on the new books shelf which attracts my attention, but it was grim today. I understand that the library wants to cater to their market or what have you, but would it kill them to order something other than mystery novels and diet books?

I think I need a larger stack of books on order; most of the titles I have holds on have long waiting lists. So if you have any reading recommendations, you should hook me up. I’m starving for material. I almost went by the lackluster bookstore to see if I could find any even vaguely interesting books to buy, but I was stymied by the sidewalk sale and a growing sense of ennui.

Because, my friends, there was a sidewalk sale. A number of the Laurel and Franklin Street businesses had tables out front with their tired sale stock, and big festive signs in their windows. The sidewalks were clogged with tourists looking through piles of dust covered crap and talking loudly on their cell phones. As I fought my way through the crowds, a deep sense of melancholy started to fill me. Fort Bragg felt so pathetic, dusty, and outmoded that I was almost embarrassed for it, the way you want to cover your face in shame when someone says something mindblowingly inappropriate and gauche.

Fortunately, deep in the pit of bitterness I spotted an old boss who had recently sold her business, and I stopped to say hello and congratulate her. We got to talking about various community projects, and she was telling me about a group she’s a member of which is working to promote sustainable ecotourism on the coast. They go around and assess various sites to determine whether or not they can support tourism, basically. In some cases, they’re advocating for less tourist exposure for more delicate areas, or working to try to make visitors to these areas sustainable. That cheered me up immensely, because I’m so tired of the mindless boosterism that goes on in this town, and it was nice to hear that people actually are thinking sustainably about the long term.

We also abused the Democratic candidates soundly, which caused a smile to creep across my face as I continued to fight my way back through the crowds to my house. At Headlands, I ran into another friend who recently moved back from Seattle. I think he sometimes feels lonely and disconnected too, so it was nice to talk to him even if we were harassed by a policeman who told us not to loiter. I glared pointedly and asked why he wasn’t citing the clusterfuck of obnoxiously loud old people on the opposite corner who had been gabbling since before I arrived, and he drifted off, muttering something under his breath. It made me momentarily sad to think that I’ve reached a strange inbetween age, where cops still feel comfortable harassing me but they don’t actually want to cite me.

I ambled back home to sit in the garden, noting that the city clock was broken again, reading 6:45 when I crossed Laurel Street when it was quite obviously no such time. As sunscreen drenched tourists cut in front of me, causing my nose to wrinkle, I felt like an isolated stranger in the town I grew up in, a strange moment.

I think I might be having a crisis of class guilt.