Detour

I’m walking, reading, already a bit dislocated, disassociated, disoriented. Reading and walking. A thing that brings stares and remarks, though since childhood and still utterly unremarkable to me. Up the stairs, along the temporary walkway behind the library, fans blowing HEPA filtered air out past construction debris and jackhammer tremors as they strip out the old funk and replace it with new generic business chic.  Up the wooden temporary plywood stairs, galvanized railing, temporary asphalt path, Library Access with an arrow, a detour sign essentially.

Urban Development by ultraviolett

Urban Development by ultraviolett

Across the bridge and down and up to Baytree Plaza, a “plaza,” such as it is, a sea of asphalt with a giant and incongruous limestone boulder in the center.  The de facto center of campus being part of an old quarry, named and bouldered in the same way all developments are named after the thing they destroy.  Oak Meadows.  Pleasant Hill.  Redwood Estates.  A limestone boulder quarried from beneath the ground to lie disconnected from everything right here with not a nearby square inch of porous dirt to absorb the spring rains.  No doubt here to give the plaza character or definition or a sense of connectedness to our environmental values, you can read the landscape designers pitch right off the plans.

To a row of automated teller machines.  This one?  No, wells fargo.  This one?  No, bank america.  This one.  Local credit union.  Same trip, but local and smaller.

Card in.  Swipe.  Pin punch.  Barely even paying attention.  Trying to read a line or two in the moment of delay between button pushes and long-distance transcommunication money whirring.  Fast money.  40 dollars.  No receipt, thank you.  Money-impatient fingers grabbity grabbing, clutch unclutch clutch.  Fingers waiting at the wrong slot, as money comes out at the one below.

And suddenly I’m wondering, what am I doing?  What does this, all of this, have to to with my life?

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