Oh how pedestrian.

I lived in suburbia far too long. While I have barely escaped tightly packed housing and suburbans with stick figue families decorating their rear windows, I can see that there is a definite difference. I am not in the largest of cities, some might even say that Gainesville isn’t much of a city at all: it is a University campus that has a few shops and restaurants. Still, the change is palpable.

For one, I never have to drive anywhere. In the pits of suburbia I had a ten minute walk just to pass the pseudo-secure borders of a gate just to leave my ‘sub-division’, let alone find my way to a major intersection. A trip to the store was an hour ordeal filled with traffic, fumes, and the unmistakable fear that a young teen in a souped up Kia would slam into me going 80 in a 30. Towards the end of my time in New Tampa I tried to use a bicycle- it was just as ineffective, and more dangerous.

Now I am here in a small city known as Gainesville. Today I left the house and passed by my car. The blue beast I had once relied on heavily now sits silently. In a month I have used no more than a tank of gas- a quarter of my normal consumption. My walk downtown is quick, most everything I could want is well within a quick jog, and if compelled I could dig out that bicycle I mentioned earlier.

When I drive I think I find a peace in the passing world. It flows past me, and I can only still the sight for as long as my eyes can avoid the road, which is at best a fraction of a second. As I am sure the speed at which we walk is significantly less than that at which we drive. That stilled world open for observation lasts, its temporary nature expands. A passing field becomes an enveloping landscape, full of creatures hidden when you whirr past them at speeds bipedal locomotion would never allow.

You know this- I am by no means the first to think that slowing down shows you the world in greater detail. You know when the world screams by you can only see the broad spectrum of colors, rather than every little comb of color hidden in the cracks. The slow crawl brings details to light, then what does a full stop bring?

I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can pause my commute- I already arrive hours earlier than everyone else I work with, and beyond that my directors my not actually own a watch. Friday night my lonely self began a slow walk home. It took me an hour an a half to walk the three blocks from office to apartment.

In front of me were a dozen or so nutjobs hailing jesus and holding signs of His image that seemed to be an homage to Che more than to their Lord. They are crazy, but so am I: I was discussing matters of importance with a banana (or at least a man in dressed as said fruit). Then my path meandered towards music- I tend to be dragged in that direction if my ears can hear it. I watched a man in all orange play a mean guitar, a small Asian man play the sax like I can only hope to aspire to, and a thin white woman sing as if she were Aretha. My path was riddled with smaller observations, each of them demanding of their own paragraphs, or pages.

Beyond these wonderful observations, I noticed the script on a statue thousands pass daily. Gainesville: did you know the statue in front of the courthouse stands proudly erect in honor of all of the Confederate soldiers that died in the Civil War? I had driven by a hundred times and had never seen those few jaw-dropping words.

SWAG

I am holding on to some glasses with a company name on them, squeezing a stress ball with their same logo, and could even wear their headband. These promotional items hold little real value: they are cheaply produced, and exist for the sole purpose for being distributed to as many people as possible to grow a brand. Still, when the box of swag was placed down in the office the other guys in the office didn’t hesitate, they were voracious. Shit We All Get (S.W.A.G) shows that we care so much for a brand that we will gladly accept items from them for free. Why?

To me the headbands and cups are useless. I support a company by giving them money, and in turn I expect a good product. SWAG seems irrelevant, but it isn’t harmful to that product I may love dearly. No, my concern isn’t with the fact that SWAG exists, but how people perceive it. SWAG is used to delineate between those who are fervently supportive of a ‘thing’ shallowly.

I’m being too wordy. What I mean to say is that these promotional goods do not make a person, or belief. Seeing a logo emblazoned on your sleeve means litte: it means you have a logo on your sleeve, not that you have a firm understanding, or true appreciation for what an organization does. To me this is analogous to an article I have just read that repeats a sentiment I have heard and agreed with in the past. That sentiment is that the true appreciators of an idea or group aren’t the cheerleaders, they are the technicians lining the field before the game.

Recently this more closely relates to the corporate structure instead of the high school. The ‘best’ CEO’s tend to be the ones who only assume the role once they see that nobody else can do a more adequate job than themselves. They are in the minority, usually there is someone with a louder voice that dwarfs their own. But once those fizzle, you are left with the true inspirers. It oddly relates to my own personality type(are you tired of me bringing up the myers briggs yet?), the INTJ is that reluctant leader. Historically I have indeed lead when I thought appropriate.

I can only wonder what this shall mean for my own future, and more importantly how a conversation about promotions turned into grandiose musings on purpose.

The desks.

I am now sitting in a relatively empty office in downtown Gainesville. The room is populated by myself, two guys working on some start-up I was told the basics of which I have already forgotten, and a spattering of empty desks, bereft of any accouterments that could indicate a continual human presence. And I am rearranging desks.

Of all the things that could be occupying my mind presently I find that desk arrangement is priority.  There are nine desks that need to be arranged, and they are to be connected in some fashion the other others around them. I have mapped it out, I have attempted determine the most efficient use of space, and fired up a few programs to optimize the layout. Of course I have pulled desks around the room as well- my contemplations didn’t stay on paper or screen. All for the arrangement of a few desks.

I could be rehearsing some of my coding knowledge, or preparing some ideas to pursue. No, I am arranging desks around a room. If I were to open up a book, or find my time better spent diving into node.js (or parse) I would stare at a page and see gibberish, or look at my screen as see fractals and rainbows. This is apparently how I think. I have to be… doing. In this case it is moving desks around a room.

I pace when I talk on the phone. I pseudo type when I am deep in introspection. Apparently my mind is so busy that it needs a distraction from my distraction: I am writing a blog while I have given myself a goal of arranging furniture, while I am thinking of my start tomorrow.