Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sign of the Times

Today I saw a man fishing in our dumpster. With a fishing pole. I'm pretty sure it had a magnet on the end and I assume he was looking for metal he could turn in for cash.

While we don't live in a bad part of town, there are always a few homeless-looking types near the major intersection. That's where the bus stops are and there's a gas station and a small shopping center so there are decent places to loiter I suppose. Austin has a large and visible homeless population but after living here a year I've come to think of it as normal. Not a happy part of normal, but a reality of the situation here.

There seem to be an increasing number of dumpster divers and transients around our apartment complex. We've gotten a few notices from the office reminding us not to leave valuables in our cars, lock our windows and report anything suspicious. Again, we live in a nice part of town. I've never felt threatened by anyone around here but now I can't help but feel a small twinge of anxiety when I'm out in the parking lot and see someone who doesn't look like a neighbor.

I teared up watching the inauguration yesterday. Obama's message of hope combined with a clear headed acknowledgment of the rough situation many citizens are facing inspire a true feeling of hope within me in a big picture way.

But in my day-to-day life, I carry a quiet burden of fear. I've grown out of my teenage feeling of invincibility; I have become acutely aware how we are all a major disaster or tragedy from completely changing our life as we know it. I fear for my safety and that of those around me.

The best I can do is keep my head up, count my blessings, and trust that everything will be ok in the end.

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