Sunday, July 15, 2012

Waking Up on the East End of Town

It's 4:52 a.m. on the east end of Charleston and all is well.

It's peaceful except for the bugs I occasionally swat. The birds aren't even out yet. Soon a robin will skit across the grass. He's the first bird out every morning. He taught me, "the early bird may get the worm, but so do the rest of them." He doesn't even necessarily get the fattest one. Haha

It's supposed to be a crime ridden mess in this part of town. But I am out all hours of the night and never have a problem. I tend to make criminals nervous I have found. I live in a low-income high rise and I have heard the "troublemakers" talking. They think I hang out to narc on them. It is certainly not the reason I hang out but if it makes them behave in my little corner of the world than so much the better.

I live my life on a mostly cash basis. It's a good thing because during the most recent Emergency Power Failure the first thing that quit working was credit cards. If you needed anything you had to have cash and the ATM's went down first. Many stores were closed because they couldn't take credit cards. It wasn't because they didn't want to. The computers didn't work and they couldn't.

Remember the days, not so long ago, when they swiped your card on a little slip of paper? Do credit card companies even accept those any more?

There goes a firetruck. So much for peaceful. Now another. They went off in the distance. Now there goes an ambulance. There's something big going on. I'm glad it's not here. We have plenty of fake fire alarms in this building. I bet it drives the firemen crazy. The general public has no idea that a full brigade of firemen must respond to every fire alarm in these buildings. 9 times out of 10 it is a minor kitchen alarm that normal people have all the time. In these low-income highrises that are full of people with assorted disabilities the alarms are sensitive and we can't turn them off. Only the firemen can after they have confirmed that the problem was only minor.

There's the fourth firetruck. I heard a police car as well. It must be really big. I see two more firetrucks and hear more in the distance. This must be really big. I bet if I go up to my 8th. floor apartment I can see what is going on. I see a lot of stuff from up there that nobody realizes I see. I can't do anything to help though so I'll just hang out down here. Just know your tax dollars are definitely at work. All that response in less than a 10 minute period.

I only called 911 once in my life before moving in this building. Now I have called them enough to know that their average response time is 7 minutes. So I know if I can manage to keep myself alive for 7 minutes then the City of Charleston will take over from there. Here comes the first truck back. Not bad, just another 10 minutes. That's good, maybe things aren't as bad as they first thought and somebody's life didn't just fall apart.

Now I hear the first birds chirping in the morning and the crickets have just chimed in. Whatever happened in the other part of town has had no impact here. A train passing in the distance sounds like home. No matter where I lived there has always been a train in the distance if not actually right in my front yard. Remember playing on the tracks when you were a kid. Our parents taught us, "you get off the tracks when a train comes or you die." None of that silly, "It's the train companies fault if I can't get my ass off the tracks before the train hits me," stuff.

Well our firetrucks are back. One more truck and they'll all be safely home. All that in little over 1/2 an hour.

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