Ambient Human Presence

Jazz Festival

Original photo by Alex Cheek. Licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

This weekend has been a reminder that I actually live in a city. With people. And Culture. Because this weekend was the Atlanta Jazz Festival, an annual event that–if traffic is any indication–draws everyone, from everywhere, to listen to music and/or drink margaritas sold by the yard.

(Yes, really, that is a thing you can buy at our festivals.)

And on some level, it was a little annoying. After all, driving back to my old place to give someone a blender yesterday took me an hour when it should have taken 20 minutes. There’s no way to spin that that doesn’t suck.

At the same time, it is difficult not to be a little happy when you see families carting kids off to go watch jazz in the park on a Sunday night. The weather is beautiful, and as I sit in my new studio I can hear the jazz coming through from the park. When I came home from getting groceries, my neighbors from the next building over were sitting in the street, drinking beer and petting their diverse variety of giant, excellent-seeming dogs. 

There are few things in the world that I like more than festivals, and drinking beer on porches, and giant dogs. So it was pretty great to see.

It’s difficult not to feel at least a little connected to where you are when you’re able to hear people and music through your walls. Even though I’m sitting alone, it feels like there are folks around me. I enjoy the ambient presence of people, and so it’s not a bad feeling at all.

Not to say that my wee city oasis is the end to all woe, of course. In the same set of days as held the jazz festival, I got a credit card stolen, nearly kicked a gynecologist in the face (on reflex, not out of malice), and managed to get screwed over by my old land lords (Williamsburg Apartments/Tribridge Realty: the worst!).

There are things that are more dignified than having to point out to the Bank of America fraud department that yes, really, all of the bar charges are yours. Except for the ones in New York. Those are not the things that I engaged in this morning.

Doctor-kicking and card-theft aside, though, I do feel like I’m settling into the new place. I found out where my nearest library is, which is very exciting. Now I just need to figure out my nearest non-Starbucks coffee shop and find a dignified way to navigate festival traffic, and I am set.

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