My sweet small town has changed to a cold selfish place where every other vehicle is a tesla or a Google self-driving car and people push past each other without acknowledging each other. My stern and solid mother is shaky and slow and fragile. My dreams of what would be, what I would be, are been found dusty and unused in corners of the house. It has been a very emotional few weeks and I’m sure to feel the repercussions, the earth quaking for months to come.
This place that I grew up in is unrecognizable. Like that girl at the high school reunion whom you know only by nametag but with her new breasts and nose, hair extensions and fake tan, in a tight spandex dress showing off her newly enhanced ass, you can no longer see the person she was. The Palo Alto of my childhood is gone, hidden behind new construction, stupid wealth and new residents that do not acknowledge the past or and choose not to know each other.
I’ve been here almost three weeks and walked with the Mom to get a paper every morning and do you know how many times we’ve had someone say “Thank you” to us for moving out of their way on the sidewalk? Twice. Only TWICE in three weeks. And how people passing us walking have responded to our morning “Hello”? Only one lovely ten-year-old boy.
The rudeness and indifference that folks show each other here has been shocking and painful. It has been as gut wrenching as watching the Mom count out her dimes as the check out lady does her best to not patronize her as the line behind us grows.
And yet, there have been moments of joy. The crossing guards know Mom’s name and cheerfully greet her each morning as she walks to get her paper. The ten-year-old boy who runs past us each morning chirps his hello with a smile that often overshadows the indifference of the others. The sun has been shining in the bright blue sky most every day. And my friends, my lovely friends have not changed. They are as charming and fascinating and as loyal as they were when I was younger and saw them more often.
So there’s that.
If this world is to continue without imploding, it is necessary we see each person as a human being that matters. To spend time getting to know our neighbors and care about their well-being. To actively reach out into the community and grow as one. I hope the blowback of the Asshat spouting hate is a return to basic caring for all. Blah, blah, blah…
In the meantime, there is ice cream and sun and cheerful ten-year-old boys to pin the hope of the future on. And tonight, there will be hugs from Husband and furry, chipmunk murdering, drooling dog love to lick away my tears until the next time I come ‘home.’