50 Days of Artpace: We All Begin Somewhere (Week 1)

Wednesday, June 8th

I woke up at the usual 6 AM. I did my routine thing and got ready, at some breakfast and watched Cereal Time. I also packed my lunch again and I’ve gotten used to doing so because I don’t have any money to buy lunch if necessary. After eating breakfast, Mom drove me to the bus stop again.

After arriving to the bus stop, something interesting happened. I saw this guy kinda lounging on the bus bench. I figured maybe he was just trying to be comfortable while waiting on the bus. I took the time to talk to him, well, he talked to me actually once he saw me coming to sit down.

He talked about his past of being homeless in New York City and he was still trying to make it down here in San Antonio, still homeless. Man, he could talk your ear off though. Honestly, he wasn’t a bad guy, nor was he smelly or anything. He was just homeless and it never crossed my mind until he told me.

After our conversation ended, he got up so I could sit down. Then he went to the trash can next to the bench, rummaged through it, took out a Whataburger drink and walked off while sipping on it. I actually couldn’t resist but to go and take a picture of the trash inside.

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He was digging through here and pulled out some of that Whataburger…

That got me to think about how hard it must be to be homeless. I had never really paid attention to the homeless in my city and this guy was my first true experience with homelessness. He wasn’t a bad person, he was just in a bad situation.

Shortly before the bus showed up, I took a picture of myself. I was feeling pretty good this morning so I figured why not.

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I don’t look too bad today. I feel pretty grand actually!

Well, the bus showed up at its usual time. I got on, swiped my pass and sat down. As the bus got to moving, I just sat around thinking. I got to thinking about the sunlight and life. So I took another picture.

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That sun flare though. I couldn’t overlook it.

Honestly, it’s the quiet moments in my life which I was beginning to treasure as my days go on. I can’t remember what I was thinking about. Honestly, I think I was thinking about my blog. You know, I haven’t really been able to blog as I’ve wanted to this summer but I’m doing what I can. I steal the time that I can for it to put out material. And at the moment, it’s very little.

Well, the contemplation was short-lived. The bus arrived at my stop downtown. I got off and walked to work. Today, I couldn’t help but notice another sight that I had to take a picture of.

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Just another view from downtown San Antonio! This is also on my way to work.

Honestly, I’ve wanted to my camera with me downtown but I can’t really fit it into my backpack so I use my phone to suffice.

Once I got to Artpace, I got to work once again. I started working on the mail which I didn’t finish yesterday. Honestly, that took a long time. A lot of the mail was in bad condition. Some people couldn’t write their addresses in the correct format, others had beat-up envelopes and some, well I had to research.

What do I mean by research? Well, some had names and only parts of their information were readable. That meant that I had to look up a lot of people online through USPS and piece together their addresses based on zip codes and partial addresses. That was a fuck-ton of work (excuse my language.)

There were also a few where they didn’t have their address at all and only the city, zip code and name. You know what that meant? I had to look through the online directory of multiple Texas cities and find specific people in certain zip code areas. Then I had to cross-reference the information with that from USPS for clarity. It took me forever to do it all! Like until just before lunchtime.

After finalizing all the mail, I had to stamp them with a stamp machine too. I had never used one before so I had to ask Chris (the one who runs the front desk) how to use it. He showed me and then I got to stamping all the mail. Honestly, it was kinda fun. Although, the machine did run low on ink so I had to restamp some of the envelopes. But once I finished, I put them in their rightful place and went back to my work.

So I went back to my office and finished that list for Scott. It didn’t take me long to finish that list. The reasons being because my mom was nice enough to teach a few tricks for using Excel. Honestly, all of those skills came in handy because I got a lot more done in a shorter amount of time.

At some point, I got distracted looking at the light flooded into my office.

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Ooh… The diffused light is so gorgeous! I can’t!
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Hello afternoon sun. It’s nice to see you playing in the trees.

After putting that list together, I sent the list off to Scott. Honestly, at the moment, I don’t have a work email for Artpace and so I had to use my personal email unfortunately. Well, either way, I got the list to Scott and he thanked me for my work.

Then, right after, he put me onto my next project. He told me that I would be cataloguing the physical archives in the Archive room, as a way to digitize them. He then took me to the Archive room and pulled out the Fall of 1999 binder off of the shelf. He placed it on the table in the room and told me how to go through each document and record details which would help sort them digitally.

He also took the time to teach me how to properly treat archived material. Luckily for me, Artpace’s archives aren’t old enough to require the use of gloves to prevent oils from coming into contact with the documents and materials. Still, this was great information to know as I can take it with me wherever I go!

I then proceeded to take the heavy and fragile binder back to my office and get right to work. Of course, because it’s a never-ending struggle, I had to work in Microsoft Excel again. Although, I will admit, I wasn’t as worried about this project because I’m very good at noticing details and organizing things. Still, because I had no idea exactly how Scott wanted me to catalog all of the material, I got uneasy.

So I went to ask Scott how to proceed. I mean, I’d rather look stupid for a second and have something explained well to me so that I don’t make mistakes, than to make mistakes and not know it and then have to correct it later (and possibly be disciplined.) He told me to catalog it the way those had done it before me.

So I went right back to my office and I browsed through that very long Excel file to get a feel for how I should proceed. Well, I saw quite a bit of the basic stuff. Short, sweet, and to the point was how things were catalogued. Although, for me, that wasn’t going to be good enough. I need things to be really detailed, especially if you’re looking for something specific.

I began cataloguing with this in mind. And that’s pretty much what I did for the rest of the day. I didn’t manage to finish the Fall of 1999 binder and that’s probably because I had only half of the work day to do so, and I got a bit distracted with all the cool stuff that was inside of it.

Honestly, getting to go through and look at personal documents life behind by artists, tons and tons of film transparencies, and official records of the exhibition (among other things) is really cool. In fact, I probably spent more of my time being fascinated with all of the material rather than cataloguing it. But I did get quite a bit done. Promise you that.

Well, just like the day before, 5 PM came sooner than I imagined it would. So, shortly before I was done for the day, I packed up my office. I closed the windows for the first time today and locked the door because Chris (the one who runs the front desk) asked me to. Unbeknownst to me, Chris had been locking up my office and closing my windows for the past two days. (Sorry Chris! Would’ve done it had I know!)

After locking up, I put the binder I was working on back in Scott’s office as he asked me to. After all, he was aware that I wasn’t going to finish it today anyway so it didn’t make sense to put it back. I left it on his desk, bid him good-bye, and I was out the door.

On the way to the bus stop, I couldn’t help but notice some more sights of downtown San Antonio. So I snapped a few photos.

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The infamous Riverwalk that runs through San Antonio. This is on the north side.
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I’ve been really captivated by this building ever since I saw it. I don’t know why.
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Hello there Greyhound! We’ll be seeing each other a lot more now!

Once I sat down at the bus stop, I noticed something. There were quite a number of homeless around me. This didn’t bother me but it did astound me. I never really noticed just how many homeless there were in the downtown area. Honestly, it was kinda saddening really.

I also couldn’t help but take some more pictures while I was waiting for the bus either so I did.

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A pedestrian with a grim look.
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So’s me homeless. I bet the Bill Miller’s through the window looks pretty good.
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My good sir, what are you thinking about? You’re unaware of the world around you.

Then after snapping a few photos on my phone, this guy came up to me. Honestly, at first I wasn’t sure if he was homeless or not because his clothes didn’t seem that ragged nor did he seem short of a bath. But he did ask me for some money, 45 cents in fact. I didn’t have any coins to give him so I gave him a whole dollar and told him to keep the change.

After doing that and seeing how grateful he was for my help, I got to thinking. I thought, why not help more homeless that I see? Wouldn’t that be super nice and thoughtful of me? And I’d get to be a humanitarian too! (You know I love humanitarian acts.)

The whole time I did have a small doubt of his situation. However, I was feeling nice either way so I gave him the money that he wanted. After all, in my heart I wanted to do the right thing, and I can’t stop him from doing the wrong thing. All I can do is be the best me.

But before I knew it, the bus had shown up and I was already on my way home. Today, it was really easy to sleep on the bus. I’ve become very good at finding spare seats where no one is sitting so I can rest my backpack in my lap and clutch to it while sleeping. This way I feel somewhat secured while being unconscious on a public bus.

Something I noticed before I fell asleep was the timestamp on my bus pass. I had never noticed it until now and it put to rest my worries of when the pass would expire.

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Well, I suppose better late than never!

And I faintly remember just before dozing off, the window. The VIA bus window was captivating for once.

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Salutations gentlemen. And I bid you farewell as I fall asleep…

But then, just like that, I opened my eyes and I was at my stop. I got off the bus and that concluded the third day…

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