Friday, October 21, 2011

In which I write about my actual life...

I added a couple of blocks to my walk home from the bus stop this evening by getting off in Downtown, thinking it might be fun to walk by all the shops. There's a new bakery that's opened up...I should probably go back with actual cash in hand and actually try some of their stuff before I decide to like it (they do take cards, but I'm kind of reeling still from the realization of how much the debit card companies are charging retailers), but their stuff at least looked good. And they're open late on Fridays, which is pretty awesome. It was also just really cool to see the amount of activity going on...there were people in the new sports bar that opened up last month, and guys trying out guitars at one of the two music stores. I don't know why it makes me happy that there's a place selling musical instruments in Merced (two even!), but it does. Same with the martial arts place I passed, which either has never had the lights on when I've been there before, or just finished some serious renovations. It actually looks downright swanky, and the family of little girls in gi that I saw crossing the street seemed like a pretty promising thing for Merced's future too. And while it may not completely count as good news, I can attest that Magic the Gathering is alive and well in Merced too. The little game store where dorky looking teenagers get together to play doesn't seem to have much else, unfortunately, but it's still a little game store where dorking looking teenagers get together, so good for them. I'm not sure why I'm so certain that Merced's long term outlook is fewer deteriorating houses, less crime, and less empty store fronts...possibly just my optimistic liberal side, or the realization of what UC Merced's commitment to keep growing should mean...but I feel pretty secure in my optimism tonight. My route home took me by one of the houses we looked at right after I took the job here...the one that was so run down we couldn't quite take the leap of faith that the landlord was going to fix it all up once they had a renter. It's fixed up now, and there's a pumpkin on the porch. I think the number of people in my neighborhood who are putting up decorations for Halloween overall is a very good sign about this place. As I was walking by, I saw one man come out of his house with a bicycle helmet to offer to a little boy...not his own...who was out in the street on a scooter. That's pretty damned cool. I passed another group of little boys who were walking home from the elementary school, and got to overhear them trying to teach their friend how to pronounce -er, not -uh or -or, -er. Like in Merced. So I dunno, the extra couple of blocks of walking was pretty worth it.

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