This morning, I got out of my car and stood in the middle of the parking lot at work. I took four pictures, kind of like I was standing at 12, 3, 6 and 9 on a clock? I wanted to show you all what I see each and every day of my work life.
Our office is in a very depressed area of the city. When the Naval Base was up and running, it was more thriving, and definitely prettier. But, the base shut down in the early 90s, and one by one, things have closed. Now it's an area with few successful businesses, and mostly boarded up empty buildings.
When Bill bought this building in 1997, there was still some life in this area of North Charleston. He bought the building because it was on the bus line and would be more convenient for our clients. And, of course, it was cheaper than any building in the downtown area. There was a Winn Dixie open in the shopping center on the corner. There were some record shops, clothing shops and a bank or two. Now, it's all closed.
Up until last week, the Navy Hospital served military personnel in the area; active and retired. But even that's closed now.
Our office has many bushes, trees, and a big hidden area between us and the library next door. (Happily, that is still open!) Homeless people spend their evenings in our bushes. Sometimes, a drug user will wander into the area between the buildings to find some privacy for that next fix. Our windows are tinted, so we can see them, but they can't see us. It makes me sad. How did they get here? What happened to them, that their evenings are now spent outside our aging bricked building?
Our roof is in the midst of a replacement; it's been leaking for years. Our carpets are dirty, the walls need a coat of paint, but we are still open. And, I like to think that we are making some kind of difference to the people we represent.
That's why I always say hello to our fish that sit in the aquarium in our lobby. It's a beautiful tank of color in the midst of all the grey, dirt, and depression. I want to embrace that small bit of pretty that exists in the midst of so much emptiness.