As I search for something to write today, I’m looking out my office window. I think I’ve got the best view in the city.
The folks in the Synovus building with windows facing the Chattahoochee might beg to differ, but I’m holding fast.
My second-floor window here in the Hardaway Building lacks river views, instead offering a tight shot of the grassy Broadway median and featuring a couple of park benches, a couple of No Parking signs and one yellow fire hydrant.
The picture is framed by oak trees, and in the background I can see a red-brick corner of the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, and beyond that, a sliver of white arch belonging to the Government Center.
For much of the day, the picture is a still-life, save for the occasional blur of cars passing above and below the median.
It gets more interesting when human beings enter the scene.
At lunchtime, a woman in high heels clicks along the brick sidewalk. I can’t actually hear her, but I can imagine the clicking. She’s getting takeout from a downtown restaurant, which I know because a few minutes later she returns carrying a Styrofoam box.
This is usually the point when I start thinking about eating lunch myself.
Throughout the day, our reporter Chuck Williams whizzes past in his street-legal golf cart.
There are music students walking to the RiverCenter, and the smaller kids always seem to be lugging the biggest instruments. Couples hold hands and folks walk dogs and individuals stop at a bench to enjoy their coffee in peace.
In the late afternoon, like clockwork, a young man walks past, adjusting his stride when necessary to avoid stepping on the row of bricks that every 6 feet or so breaks the crisscross pattern. He walks out of the picture, heading south.
But if you’re with me in my office when this happens, I’ll stop you as he leaves the frame and say, “Hey! Watch this!”
He will leave the picture, I will count to five, and he will return and sit down on the bench for a few moments before leaving for good.
And then you’ll probably look at me and register the same disgust that Thelma Ritter does in “Rear Window” when Jimmy Stewart tries to brief her on the daily routine of the neighbors in his apartment complex.
But I will tell you the greatest thing I’ve seen in the 30 months that the Ledger-Enquirer has occupied our new digs.
A couple of months ago, a young mother hopped into the frame with a baby and a large basket, and a 2-year-old girl trailing close behind.
She spread a blanket on the grass and positioned the baby in the middle. Then she looked at her little girl and said, “WE’RE HAVING A PICNIC!” I’m not a trained lip-reader, but I could tell what she said, and the little girl began jumping up and down.
I was having a bad day until then, but not after that. I mean, I was waiting to see what Mom pulled out of the basket next, and then the excitement on that little girl’s face. Even the baby knew something big was happening.
I tell you, it was thrilling. It reminded me of my own mother, how she treated every minute she spent with me and my brother and sister as if we were the most important people on earth and whatever mundane task we were engaged in was the most exciting thing anybody had done ever.
Talk about living in the moment!
That’s why I keep looking out the window and learning something.
Thanks to everybody who’s contributed so far. That includes you, Chuck Williams.