Monday, December 27, 2010

Everyday Use

The worst part of insomnia is that terrible, middle-of-the-night feeling that you're the only person awake in the world. There is nothing lonelier. This has been far more pronounced, for me, in small towns, where it seems like everyone responds to the calm by closing their blinds and shutting down, far more successfully than I, for the night.

Urban living has offered the salve that something seems to be happening all the time: Businesses open, trains running, even people grocery shopping or taking a jog. It's comforting to know that life doesn't assume a single collective rhythm, but instead has a pulse, even in the wee hours.

I guess my preferred version of the world is one where things are in motion when you need them.

So it's been something of a thrill for me to watch our local daycare center finally open its doors. You may remember this building (actually a set of three connected buildings) having several failed attempts at productivity: A pathetic excuse for a shish-kabob restaurant called "Skewers," the more passable Super Pollo taqueria, a mortgage company, a random clerical office. But mostly, just empty, idle space, waiting for its best iteration.

I'd like to think it's found its way with the daycare center. Sure, I was sad to see the state-of-the-art hooded range disappear, thinking, if we just have a little patience, a perfect little eatery or bakery will make its home there. But you can't argue with the local economy, which says that services, not goods, make sense for certain corridors.

These photos are from two days after Christmas. It's just after 6am and pitch-black outside, but the bright lights are on and daycare workers scurry inside for their early arrivals, readying the rooms for infants, toddlers, and older children. I can only imagine those kids looking forward to their drop-off, so they can play in that cheerful space and take instruction from the sweet bilingual staff on how to make snowflakes for the windows.

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