8.21.2010

All Walks of Life


One of the rich aspects about life in Philadelphia is how diverse it is, in people and architecture and setting. Consider a few hours in my life from earlier this week:

* 4:00p - I leave a meeting on the 30th floor of a Center City skyscraper with the good people at the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is one of our clients and for whom we produce a quarterly international tourism metric. I spend a little over an hour catching up on emails, voice mails, and printed out reports in the food court area underneath the Comcast Center, where commuters are pouring in and out for rush hour.

* 5:30p - I make my way to the School District of Philadelphia main administration building at Broad and Spring Garden for an orientation for parents with kids with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Because child care is provided, lots of kids are there. Every race and ethnicity is represented, but socio-economically it's a pretty low income group, at least judging by attire. I check in, get my packet of information and dinner, and hit up the people who specialize in speech therapy, which is Jada's main issue.

* 6:15p - I have to bolt from the meeting way early to make it across the city to my next event. I hop on the Broad Street Line at Spring Garden and take it to Ellsworth-Federal. Because there's a Phillies game that evening, almost everyone on the line is heading to the stadium, most with Phillies gear on. It's a largely young and boisterous crowd, almost as many women as men.

* 6:45p - I get off at Ellsworth-Federal and hoof it through South Philadelphia (quintessential images: young bucks smoking on their porch, urban gardens, ballfields and playgrounds) through the Italian Market (or, as I like to call it, "the Italian/Mexican/Chinese/Vietnamese Market") to the main restaurant inside a Vietnamese shopping plaza. David Oh is holding court at the back of the restaurant, as the rest of his exploratory committee listens.

* 7:30p - The meeting adjourns and I chat with some of the other committee members, who come from all walks of life and thus represent the diversity of supporters David has been able to assemble on his team. I head out of the plaza and just miss my bus, but no matter, I have come with my Economists, and I am over a week behind, so I make good use of the 15-minute wait.

* 8:00p - The 64 bus is one of my secret favorite bus lines, because it is such a random line to intersect with my life. But intersect it does, when I am down in this part of the city, for it winds through South and Southwest Philadelphia before brushing up just blocks from my house. I alternate between powering through my Economists, people-watching inside the bus, and observing the neighborhoods as we glide through them. I disembark, walk through a yard sale being held by the sketchy people who live on a busy street corner in our neighborhood, and am soon home. The dogs are barking.

(Apologies for these kinds of posts, which I am guessing are really boring to read. I have decided that I want to mix into my posting rhythm some mundane descriptions of everyday urban life. What is normal for me is, perhaps, useful documentation about life in a big city, in all of its texture and intricacy. It's not as noticeable a perk as having great restaurants or a winning baseball team, but it's part of what I think city dwellers like about living in an urban environment, is these kinds of mundane aspects of getting around and intersecting with lots of different kinds of people and lots of different kinds of ways. Thus will I document.)

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