23 September 2008

flying rats

In the alley next to my office reside several differing hobos--there's the bearded fellow who looks a lot like a drunken, disheveled Santa Klaus, whom I normally stumble upon either waking up and making the transition from his cardboard bed construction to his favor sitting and reading place, he vacates to be supplanted by the clean and reasonably well groomed gentleman who spanges not for pennies, nickles and dimes, instead requesting the transmittance from your pocket to his paw of any and all spare twenty dollar bills. This makes sense, given that too many ATM machines in the Financial District's default 'fast cash' option is to spit out five, twenty dollar bills--certainly if it is in your ability to have this be the blink cash option, then one of them can probably be spared. This latter hobo also seems to have an affection for the quality of my sunglasses (but really who doesn't appreciate Wayfarers?) as well as the haircut of the Art Director here... However, and more to the point, I've lately come to notice another lady who has taken up residence in the slightly poorly named Commercial Alley, who has taken on the solemn duty to feed a small army of pigeons.

Normally I wouldn't take much notice of her; being rather plain, heavy set and clothed in varied colored faded sweatsuits--a normally certain visual signifier of having given up on life, which perhaps I've used in too broad of strokes. My reason for notice came about when I began to see her on the BART train in the morning, first infrequently, but then, somehow, our schedules and car selection synced up, causing me to realize that this is, in fact, her passion. Her work and perhaps her reason for being. Everyday, this random woman, whom I really know nothing about, finds it her duty to get on the Richmond line, somewhere north of my embarkment point, to specifically ride into the city, with the sole purpose being the feeding of the pigeons who have taken residency on Commercial Alley. No reward to be doled out beyond the pure purpose of the completed task, and it gave me pause, as to if anything motivated me to that level anymore.

I spend my days rising at the same hour, going through the same rituals of preparing for the day ahead, somewhat dreading my arrival at my place of employment--scraping through the day doing just enough to appear busy and to avoid getting fired. Patiently watching the clock, monitoring the sluggish passage of seconds and minutes, as they crawl towards five pm at which time I race home, only to the repeat the cycle of monotony. Certainly there are flashes of joy and inspiration--but the bulk mechanical repititous nature of my being wears on me. Doing what I do because I 'ought' and because I 'need' but never because it is my passion. Just a drone, droning away--is this how it is to be?

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