Which Side of the Street?

On the right side of the street stands one version of me.  

Day having just ended, I leave work in the city and begin my long and dreaded commute home.  

In my ears, I play my “sad and lonely” Spotify playlist in anticipation of a depressing two hour journey ahead. 

I pass garbage, glass, and graffiti scattered across the sidewalk and my jaws clench at the disgusting nature of people who litter on Mother Earth, a thankless gesture to a land that provides us with such rich nourishment. And this is how we return the favor? 

In the air, marijuana, cigarette smoke, and rotting filth cloud my nose and I wrinkle it in disgust, hatred for this unbearable mixture of smells.  

I turn the corner and pass a man masterbating in the corner. Not five minutes later, I hear the loud voice of a crazy homeless man calling out to me: “F*** that p****!” He follows me for awhile and then ambles off muttering drug infused nonesense. 

I get home eventually, exhausted, feeling dirty, and disappointed at the state of San Francisco and its crazy inhabitants.  

And then there’s the other me on the left side of the street.  

Work had just ended, and whether or not my day went good or bad, I begin my walk with a bounce in my step, for I was going home.  

In my ears, I play a pleasant playlist, perhaps “shy smile songs”, or “unwind.” 

On my walk, I pass a myriad of flower displays. The old Victorians compete with each other and I admire the landscaping. And oh look! I find a lucky penny.  

In the air, I get a whiff of the ocean, for the breeze in Haight is strong and brings the faint scent of the Bay up the steep streets and into my nose. I pass a restaurant or two and the smell of good cooking tempts me in and reminds me of San Francisco’s impressive restaurant choices.  

I turn the corner and run into an older man walking his dog, who comes up and gives me a lick. Lower by the Bart station, I pass a couple in a date, smiling to myself and silently wishing them good fortune.  

I get home, eventually, proud of myself for my adult commute and I treat myself by running straight to the fridge for some chocolate milk. I feel good, accomplished, and I think back on all the good things I got to experience during my travels home.  

Often, I find myself automatically assuming role of the girl on the right side of the street. The girl who already presumes she’s going to see nasty nasty on her way home, this version of me leaves work with an iced over heart.  

It makes my commute unbearable and I always return home grumpy and unhappy. Cause when you think about it, there’s a lot of stuff on my commute home that I would just rather not witness or experience.  

However, there is a silver lining in everything and I have found that my attitude when I leave the city is the real problem here. Not the garbage filled streets, but the decision I make into automatically turning into someone who sees only the ugly.  

I don’t want to be that version of me, the one who sees the bad. And when I decide to be the other version of me, so to speak, it makes a world of difference.  

When I leave work in the city with the conscious decision to look for the beauty and not the ugly, it’s like the ice around my heart is physically melting. I feel this warmth and my perspective on life changes dramatically.  

I am in charge of my own happiness and I need to start making the concious and plain easy decision to start looking at things with an optimistic attitude. 

That won’t always cancel out the horrendous sights I have the misfortune of witnessing, but at least I have the decision on which side of the street I’ll choose to walk home on. 

*Also, it’s Friday the 13th, which may explain the crazies. 👻