#551: A Quiet Block

November 4th, 2015

It’s quiet on the block.

Other blocks are loud and brutal, but not this one. This one’s quiet and pretty.

There are stores here, a bunch of them. Little individualized boutiques, with just enough Starbuckses and 7-Elevens scattered among to keep the place comfortable and familiar.

A half hour’s walk along the street strides past fellow striders. People walk here. A group of about 10 young teenagers loiters around a convenience/drug store’s sliding doors.

A group of four slightly older teens, two hand-holding couples, pushed by, muttering loudly about the freshmen by the doors.

“It’s like, where did all these little children come from?” one of the 16 year olds asked her friends before launching into a story about throwing pennies at her little brother.

The stores are quiet too. Popping head into various locations — a store for super-soft shirts, a face cream/bath bomb store, a store that designs bars and man caves for private residences — reveals each time one or two clerks tidying stock that doesn’t need to be tidied.

Each time, the clerk is able to talk, walking up with a calming, pleasant smile and some questions about shopping needs.

It seems unfair that life should be so peaceful here. It seems unfair that there is this quiet.

It would be cheap and easy, though, to rail against this heaven a few miles away from hell. No matter or concern that it’s true. It would just be bad writing to point out the obvious flaws in this misaligned system. Corny. On the nose.

So I’ll just write about the beauty, the peace, the quiet. The slip of street where teenagers hang in big happy groups and clerks tidy already perfect stock again waiting for the Christmas rush to clear them out.

Somewhere, someone’s dying. Chicago’s gun dead are crossing that Stalin line between tragedy and statistic.

But not here.

Somewhere, someone’s even happier. The oddness of this quiet heaven is that there are quieter, more peaceful, more detached places on the planet. There are people even more blissful and isolated from their fellow human than these striders.

It’s quiet on this thin little street in a loud, fat city. Some nights the city speaks, tells tales of hustlers and gunslingers, loud brash graffiti or humming laughing comedy.

Other nights, the city simply says hush.

“Hush,” the city says. “Hush, you beautiful people lucky enough to stride on this particular stretch of land at this particular time in your particular demographic. Everything is fine for you. The weather is warm, the night breeze light and the world is quiet here.”

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