I had four errands to run this morning, all downtown. I've rarely had four errands in any given week, much less downtown. I've always believed the word "errand" to mean nothing more than an act that needs to get done, yes, but whose main purpose is to get you out of the house. Enjoying the confines of my house, I've largely avoided these things most of my life.
But there were four things I needed to get done, all downtown, all within a few blocks of each other. So I decided to perform my tasks by foot. I parked on Austin and 5th and worked my way through my errands in a clockwise motion until I arrived back at my car.
I thought about downtown and how lifeless it seemed. As in most cities the size of Waco, downtown still holds civic and business offices, furniture stores, and the occasional headquarters of a hack personal injury lawyer holed up in an upstairs office building only accessible by an old, dingy stairwell that rises above a narrow glass door.
But once five o'clock hits, people head home and the life drains away from these once bustling streets. Long before I moved to Waco, these streets were where people went to in order to see their friends in the midst of errands. But now it is an out-of-the-way inconvenience that citizens must endure before they escape to the outer limits, where houses all look alike and the "riff-raff" are kept out by gates, physical and metaphorical.
Yet if I'm to believe the talk that's been going on around here for at least seven years, probably longer, this place will be what it once was.
I'm not holding my breath, but I am holding out hope.